Valleywise Health today announced that the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) has designated the health care system with their “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” for the second year in a row. Valleywise Health is the first hospital in Arizona to achieve the designation, awarded in the 12th edition of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).

Every year, HRC recognizes the health care facilities that participate in the HEI for their dedication and commitment to LGBTQ inclusion. A record 765 health care facilities actively participated in the HEI 2020 survey. Of those included in the HEI, 495 earned an “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation.

“This designation goes to support our on-going mission to provide exceptional care to all who come through our doors, regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic standing and in this case, sexual orientation,” says Steve Purves, President and CEO of Valleywise Health. “We have built a strong relationship with our LGBTQ community and to be considered a leader in advancing care equality to our LGBTQ community is truly a source of pride.”

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Valleywise Health joins HRC in striving to ensure the healthcare and emotional needs of this community is met with empathy and understanding.

“From the previously unimaginable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the horrific incidents of racial violence targeting the Black community, the events of the past year have brought about so much pain and uncertainty. Yet, even during this moment of profound unrest, we are seeing more of our humanity and resilience come to life. For me, nowhere is that more true than through the tireless dedication of our health care providers and the intrepid support and administrative staff members by their sides that show up every day to ensure this life-saving work continues,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The health care facilities participating in the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) are not only on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also making it clear from their participation in the HEI that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients. In addition, many have made strong statements on racial justice and equity and are engaging in efforts to address racial inequities in their institutions and their communities. We commend all of the HEI participants for their commitment to providing inclusive care for all.”

One of the primary drivers of receiving the recognition is the health systems work at their Valleywise Community Health Center – McDowell, a specialty clinic providing primary care services for HIV positive patients, HIV prevention through PrEP and transgender hormonal therapy. The health center sees about 4,000 patients per year, with roughly 65% self-identifying as LGBTQ and provides care to all who need it thanks to its partnership with the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

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