NORTHAMPTON, Mass (WWLP) – Cooley Dickinson Hospital earned a top score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s national benchmarking survey for the “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation.

The Healthcare Equality Index is the nation’s leading benchmarking survey regarding healthcare facilities that promote policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

Cooley Dickinson is the only hospital in western Massachusetts and one of 14 in the Commonwealth to obtain this title.

Human Right Campaign Foundation data confirms that 906 healthcare facilities participated in the 2022 HEI survey, with 496 earning the “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” title.  

“We are here for all patients no matter who they love, what they believe or where they come from,” says Cooley Dickinson Health Care President and Chief Executive Officer Lynnette M. Watkins, MD, MBA. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the health inequalities that have existed for decades.

“I am so proud of our teams at Cooley Dickinson who put equitable, inclusive and affirming care at the center of the services we provide here. They are to be commended for doing this critical work every day, and earning this designation from The Human Rights Campaign validates their efforts.”

The Healthcare Equality Index 2022 benchmark tool asked participants about LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices.

Questions were divided into four categories: 

  • Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care
  • LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support
  • Employee Benefits and Policies
  • Patient and Community Engagement

According to a news release from Cooley Dickinson Health Care, during the past five benchmark surveys conducted by the Healthcare Equality Index, Cooley Dickinson Health Care achieved an overall score of 100.  

The HEI 2022 reflects notable progress, including: 

  • 93% of participants met the HEI’s training requirements, completing more than 200,000 hours of staff training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.
  • 82% of participating facilities earned either the Leader or Top Performer.
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their patient non-discrimination policy.
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their employment nondiscrimination policy.
  • 81% of HEI participants offer transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to their employees, up from 75% in 2019, which was the first year this it was required in order to obtain Leader status.