Health

Though some Kentucky policies — like a religious expression law that went into effect last year — have been criticized as discriminatory, a new report finds ten state facilities earned top scores for being inclusive towards people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ).

The report, released by the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign Foundation, asked 626 healthcare facilities whether they have explicit non-discrimination policies for LGBTQ people, training for LGBTQ patient care, options for people to self-identify and more.

Scoring facilities’ responses by what policies and practices they offered, HRC found 418 facilities nationwide earned a perfect score for their inclusivity towards the LGBTQ community.

Eleven Kentucky facilities signed up to participate. Of the 10 which received perfect scores on the report, seven are in Louisville. The other three are in Lexington.

HRC Director Tari Hanneman said the report’s goal is to bring inclusive policies to healthcare facilities and encouraged others to participate.

“It really is up to these institutions, like health care facilities, like schools, like corporations, to provide some of those protections to their patients and their employees and their students,” Hanneman said.

“That’s why we work with those kind of institutions to adopt these policies and practices, and put them in place to provide a welcoming environment even when the state law or the federal law is not as inclusive.”

Kentucky Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman said overall, Kentucky laws have not been inclusive of LGBTQ residents. He said he’s proud of hospitals’ progress in the HRC report, but said more change is needed to create more inclusive environments for LGBTQ people.

“The disparities, in terms of healthcare coverage and healthcare access and respect in healthcare settings for LGBTQ people, are vast,” Hartman said. “The fact that these hospitals are leading the way on inclusive healthcare is important. Because in so many places, LGBTQ people are not receiving even competent health care — much less, respectful healthcare or inclusive healthcare.”

Hartman said more hospitals should be trained for LGBTQ patient care, and said a state-wide non-discrimination law covering LGBTQ people would increase inclusiveness and erase stigmas. Currently, nine Kentucky cities have fairness ordinances, including Louisville, Lexington, Morehead, Frankfort, Vicco and Paducah.

To read the Human Rights Campaign’s full report, click here.

This story has been updated. 

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.