It looks like Catholic hospitals may be a new place for hope for equality for LGBT people in the church. Yesterday, we reported on St. Peter’s Healthcare System in New Jersey partnering with Rutgers University to assist families with LGBT members. Today, we learned that two Catholic hospitals have been commended for their non-discrimination policies and practices.
U.S. News and World Report offers details about the two hospitals, which are geographically close to one another:
“Two Catholic health systems say they won’t tolerate discrimination against gay patients and their families, according to a report released Thursday.
“MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. and Bon Secours Health System in Marriottsville, Md., – both Catholic healthcare facilities – were commended in the ‘Healthcare Equality Index 2013,’ which was published by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest gay rights group in America.”
HRC evaluates hospitals on four criteria:
- patient non-discrimination
- visitation policies inclusive of same-sex spouses and partners
- non-discrimination in employment
- training of staff in LGBT patient-centered care, including five senior hospital administrators in those programs.
HRC’s Health and Aging Director Shane Snowdon commended these hospitals for their service and integrity:
“Religiously affiliated institutions say… ‘I get that this is about health care, and that it’s not about politics or morality or religion.’ Next year, to make a fearless prediction, I think we’re going to see a lot more.”
Bon Secours Health System (BSHSI) released a statement on their website about the designation, which included a statement from David T. Binder, vice president and general counsel for BSHSI and member of the BSHSI Diversity and Inclusion Council:
“The Diversity & Inclusion Council is very proud that Bon Secours Health System has been recognized for the second year in a row as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality. Our acute care facilities independently met the core criteria for LGBT patient-centered care related to patient non-discrimination, equal visitation policies, employment non-discrimination, and training in LGBT patient-centered care. We believe that this leadership status underscores our commitment through our Code of Conduct and policies to be a fully inclusive environment for patients and employees.”
Additionally, U.S. News and World Report quoted Peggy Moseley, a spokesperson for BSHSI, which said that hospital’s “tradition is to honor the inherent dignity of each person, and to demonstrate respect for all.”
Congratulations to these two Catholic hospitals! May many more soon follow their lead!
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry