The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center has been named a top performer for LGBTQ+ health care in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). It received an evaluation of 95 out of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer.”

HEI is considered among the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of health care facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and staff.

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“Being rated as a Top Performer is a tremendous honor. It reflects the hard work our staff has put into making the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System a compassionate and welcoming place that meets the needs of our LGBTQ+ staff and Veterans,” said Dr. Michael McKee, LGBTQ+ care coordinator. “We are deeply committed to breaking down all barriers that negatively impact the LGBTQ+ community’s sense of personal meaning and value and their ability to enjoy the same rights and privileges that all segments of society should enjoy. “The true importance of achieving such a high score is not the score itself but what it represents. It boldly says to our LGBTQ+ community, ‘We believe in you, we respect you and we are here for you.’”

According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, HEI evaluates and scores health care facilities using four central pillars:

  • Foundational policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.
  • LGBTQ+ patient services and support.
  • Employee benefits and policies.
  • Patient and community engagement.

One of 251 selected from 906 facilities

A record 906 health care facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey. Muskogee VA is in good company, as one of 251 facilities earning the “Top Performer” designation with scores between 80-95 points and at least partial credit in each section.

To receive a score from HEI, medical administrative staff must submit several pages of questions, documents and photos to show how the medical center supports the LGBTQ+ community. The facility gained points for items such as:

  • Providing access to gender neutral bathrooms.
  • Community outreach and services provided for Veterans and staff.
  • Nondiscriminatory health benefits for employees.
  • Surveys related to LGBTQ+ employees and Veterans.
  • Services and groups offered to LGBTQ+ Veterans and more.

“We are very proud of our score and all of the accomplishments in the LGBTQ+ program,” said Terri Woodworth, the LGBTQ+ Employment Program manager.

“We have raised our HEI score from 20 to 95 over the last several years, and this score is evidence of the hard work that has gone into creating a caring and inclusive health care system for not only our LGBTQ+ Veterans but our LGBTQ+ staff as well.”

Learn more here.

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