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September 10, 2020

UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and UNC REX Hospital in Raleigh have been named to a list of healthcare facilities recognized as leaders in providing equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.

The 2020 Healthcare Equality Index, or HEI, scores healthcare facilities across the country on policies and practices dedicated to equitable treatment and inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer patients and their families.

UNC REX received a score of 100 and is designated as a “2020 LBGTQ Healthcare Equality Leader.” UNC Hospitals received a score of 90 and is designated as a “Top Performer.” The HEI 2020 scoring criteria included a higher benchmark, requiring participating facilities to demonstrate that they offered at least one company-wide health insurance plan that affirmatively provides transgender-inclusive coverage in order to earn the top score of 100.

“Across the state, UNC Health is proud of our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion at all of our hospitals, clinics and physician practices,” said Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health Care. “That commitment is closely tied to our mission of providing excellent care for all North Carolinians.”

HEI participants are assessed on four criteria: LGBTQ Patient-Centered Care, LGBTQ Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and LGBTQ Patient and Community Engagement.

“UNC Health recognizes the importance of reducing healthcare disparities. We are committed to providing care to the LGBTQ community that is inclusive and meets each individual’s needs,” said Linda Butler, MD, Chief Medical Officer at UNC REX Healthcare and an executive sponsor of the UNC REX LGBTQ Employee Resource Groups.

The index is administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

“I am proud to be a part of an organization that supports and encourages practices that provide for an inclusive, safe healthcare environment for the LGBTQ population. Achieving this recognition aligns with our mission and values for improving health and healing communities by leading the way to inclusive welcoming care to the LGBTQ patient. Each year the bar is raised and we continue to achieve leader status by staying dedicated to the goal of excellent healthcare for all,” Paula Scannell BSN, RN, co-chair of the UNC REX LGBTQ Employee Resource Group.

Ratings for every participating healthcare facility are published in an annual HEI report and are available on the HRC website, allowing consumers to easily search the HEI database or an interactive map.

“We are proud that UNC Medical Center is being recognized as a Healthcare Equality Index Top Performer for the great work that we have accomplished regarding inclusive training and education, LGBTQ support, and non-discrimination policies. This designation is important because it is a public demonstration of UNC Health’s organizational values: One Great Team, Carolina Care, Leading the Way, and It Starts With Me. We still have work to do, but I look forward to seeing what we will continue to accomplish going forward,” said Samantha Lehman, co-chair of PRISM, the LBGTQ employee resource group at UNC Medical Center.

Media Contact: Alan Wolf, (919) 218-7103,


About UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care is an integrated health care system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care.

UNC Health Care is comprised of UNC Hospitals at Chapel Hill, ranked consistently among the best medical centers in the country; the UNC School of Medicine, a nationally eminent research institution; Pardee UNC Health Care in Hendersonville; Chatham Hospital in Siler City; Johnston Health in Clayton and Smithfield; UNC Lenoir Health Care in Kinston; Wayne UNC Health Care in Goldsboro; Caldwell UNC Health Care in Lenoir; Nash UNC Health Care in Rocky Mount; UNC Rockingham Health Care in Eden, Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, UNC REX Healthcare and its provider network in Wake County; and the UNC Physicians Network.

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