OCTOBER 15, 2014. Jersey City Medical Center – Barnabas Health has been recognized as a "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.
The findings were part of HRC Foundation's Healthcare Equality Index 2014, a unique annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans, and recognizes healthcare institutions doing the best work.
The hospital, the only one in Hudson County to be recognized, earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients, and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality health care and respect they deserve.
"This recognition is an indication of the great strides we've made in both identifying steps we believe needed to take and then implementing a meaningful and impactful program," said Joseph Scott, President/CEO, Jersey City Medical Center – Barnabas Health. "This is particularly important in a city like Jersey City, which is so diversified in terms of the culture, traditions, languages and sexual orientation of the people who live and work here."
Jersey City was recently named as the 8th most LGBT-friendly city in the United States by the online financial site NerdWallet in terms of the presence of its gay community, LGBT-friendly laws and opportunities, and LGBT safety and tolerance.
The facility's recognition by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation did not happen by chance. It all started with the formation last January of PRIDE Promise: A Commitment to LGBT Healthcare Initiative, a committee comprised of senior level administrators at the hospital.
"We revised three major hospital policies – the Patient Bill of Rights, Equal Visitation Policy and Equal Employment Opportunity policy," said T. Jibri Douglas, who coordinated the initiative. "We engaged senior level management in executive briefings on LGBT issues and updated the website to include information on sexual orientation, gender expression and identity."
A community advisory board is in the process of being established. All four of the hospital's pillars – patient safety, engagement, clinical quality and economic health – were reviewed to see how they meet the needs of the community. LGBT educational trainings were implemented for all new hire employees, clinical education classes are being organized for doctors and nurses, as were special events (including an LGBT Open House, scheduled as part of LGBT Spirit Day, which the hospital will host on Friday, October 17th from 6 – 8 p.m.).
According to Douglas, the work of the initiative marked the first time the hospital has done something of this magnitude in the community.
"The recognition shows that Jersey City Medical Center is really a progressive hospital that respects the diversity of the patients and families we see here on a day-to-day basis," said Douglas. "It's only the first stepping stone, but you can already feel the difference."
Jersey City Medical Center – Barnabas Health was one of a select group of 426 healthcare facilities nationwide to be named Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality. Facilities awarded this title meet key criteria, including patient and employee non-discrimination policies that specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education for key staff members.
Contact: Howard Matzner/Steven Clark