Share

In just one year, a majority of VA medical centers establish pro-gay policies

By |
Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Veterans Affairs,Health Care,Gay rights

Medical facilities operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs have moved at light-speed to change policies after the 2011 elimination of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, with a majority winning an "equality" award from the nation's largest LGBT lobby, the Human Rights Campaign.

Next week, the group plans to award their "Healthcare Equality Index" award to 76 percent of VA facilities that participated in the equality survey, nearly all for the first time.

"This is a big victory, particularly when you consider how well the VA hospitals did," said an HRC spokesman.

The index looks at four factors on how the nation's health care facilities, including hospitals, treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients. Essentially the grade is for how well the facilities address special needs and concerns of LGBT patients. Key among them: That they don't discriminate against the patients or their family and they provide "unbiased, welcoming care."

The awards show just how quickly the VA adopted the change to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. This year, 120 VA medical centers, or nearly 80 percent, participated in the Human Rights Campaign' Health Equality Index, with 76 percent of those winning the award.

The change in policy and award from HRC are so significant that Veterans' officials are joining HRC executives at the VA Wednesday to discuss the award.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.