In its most recent study of equal treatment of LGBT individuals in health care settings, the Human Rights Campaign found that most organizations surveyed have changed policies to ensure all patients and their guests feel welcomed and that they are in good hands. The HRC Healthcare Equality Index is an annual guide developed to meet the needs of LGBT Americans for equitable, knowledgeable and sensitive health care, free from discrimination based on LGBT status.

The 2014 HEI included a survey that asked health care organizations 24 questions about best practices in LGBT patient-centered care. A subset of these questions focused on the “Core Four” policies and practices considered essential for equitable and inclusive LGBT care. These policies include patient nondiscrimination, equal visitation, employee nondiscrimination and staff training.

“In our research, which we view as the same type of investigation an LGBT patient might undertake, we looked at the policies of the largest hospitals in all 50 states, as well as in 50 metro areas nationwide with the highest LGBT populations,” HRC President Chad Griffin explained. Two states — Idaho and North Dakota — had no equality leader.

In 2014, 427 of the 507 respondents — or 84 percent — met all of the core criteria. These respondents represent a 101 percent increase over 2013 when 212 respondents were recognized as HEI leaders. Still, not all the news is good.

“We found evidence that many hospitals still have a long way to go toward true inclusion — despite the fact that many LGBT-inclusive policies are now required for accreditation and mandated by federal regulation,” Griffin said. “We hope this report will play an essential role in motivating leaders of these facilities to do right by their LGBT patients.”