Norton Healthcare’s five Louisville hospitals and Norton Cancer Institute have received an evaluation of 100 and the designation “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of health care facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

Norton Healthcare’s facilities first received this designation in 2018 and have received it in all subsequent years that the designation has been awarded. The Human Rights Campaign did not announce health equality designations in 2021.

“Norton Healthcare was founded on a mission of service to all,” said Russell F. Cox, president and CEO, Norton Healthcare. “From our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, to our nondiscriminatory policies for both patients and employees, and our support of community events such as the Louisville Pride Festival, we are committed to serving as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. This designation is a very powerful statement to our organization’s commitment to inclusion and service to all.”

“Every person deserves to have access to quality health care, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care,” said Tari Hanneman, director of health and aging at the Human Rights Campaign. “But LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including health care facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment.

“The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their health care providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the health care industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”

The 2022 HEI assessed participants on four objectives:

·        Ensure foundational nondiscrimination protection for patients, visitors and staff in patient and employee policies, and provide cultural competency training on LGBTQ+ inclusion

·        Demonstrate progress toward inclusion on LGBTQ+ patient care services and support

·        Cultivate an inclusive workplace by providing LGBTQ+ inclusive employee policies and benefits

·        Demonstrate engagement with and public commitment to the LGBTQ+ community

“In health care, we support patients and families when they are at their most vulnerable,” said Joseph M. Flynn, D.O., MPH, FACP, chief administrative officer, Norton Medical Group, and physician-in-chief, Norton Cancer Institute. “It’s important our interactions and the care we provide ensure our patients, visitors and our fellow employees feel comfortable and respected in all of our facilities.”

A record 906 health care facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey and an impressive 496 facilities earned the “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 251 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation, with scores between 80 and 95 points and at least partial credit in each section.