Missouri has an unusually high number of hospitals with medical and employer practices that accommodate the needs of LGBTQ individuals, according to a new report from a national advocacy organization.
The Healthcare Equality Index, released Tuesday by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, names 14 Missouri hospitals as “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders.” That puts Missouri 8th in the nation for the number of such hospitals.
Several Kansas City-area hospitals, including those in the St. Luke’s, Children’s Mercy and Truman Medical Centers systems, are listed as leaders.
“You have some good health systems there,” says Tari Hanneman, deputy director of the Health and Aging Program at HRC, which is based in Washington, D.C.
The organization says LGBTQ individuals' health can suffer when hospitals and other health providers don’t take their needs into account.
Hospitals volunteer to be ranked in the report on measures including patient services, non-discrimination and employee policies.
The Kansas City-area hospitals that received the top rankings include:
- Children’s Mercy Kansas City
- Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City’s Crittenton Children’s Center
- Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City
- Saint Luke’s North Hospital – Barry Road
- Truman Medical Center – Hospital Hill
- Truman Medical Center – Lakewood
- Saint Luke’s East Hospital
Hanneman says these and other hospitals actively pursue LGBTQ health and equal-employment practices.
“It starts at the system-level leadership of saying, 'This is important, and this is what we want to do,'” she says.
Missouri has more top-ranked hospitals than many states with much larger populations, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington.
Five Kansas hospitals, including the University of Kansas Health System and affiliates of Saint Luke’s and Children’s Mercy, also received the highest rankings.
Many Midwest, Southern and Mountain states had one or no top-ranked hospitals.
Alex Smith is a health reporter for KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @AlexSmithKCUR