LGBTQ Care Leader Designation a Feather in AtlantiCare’s Cap

Apr 11, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center has been designated a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” for the seventh consecutive year by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the education arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization. The award was announced in the 11th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index, released March 27. HRC envisions a world where those who identify as LGBTQ are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

“To earn the trust of our patients and their loved ones, we need to provide the most advanced care,” said Margaret Belfield, AtlantiCare’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Even more important is that we care for each person as an individual. That includes our encouraging patients to talk openly with their care team (in) our ongoing work to identify and solve for potential barriers to care.”

ARMC and Geisinger Medical Center were among only 418 facilities across the nation that earned the designation with a score of 100.

“We thank our staff and providers for being supportive of all community members regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Julie Drew, system executive director at AtlantiCare Behavioral Health and co-executive sponsor of AtlantiCare’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group. “AtlantiCare is humbled to be recognized for a seventh year as a leader in healthcare equality for LGBTQ patients and all we serve.”

“We strive daily at ARMC and throughout AtlantiCare to create an environment in which all community members receive equitable treatment and no one faces discrimination,” said Edward Hamaty Jr., DO, chairman of AtlantiCare Critical Care and co-executive sponsor of AtlantiCare’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group.

The Healthcare Equality Index offers healthcare facilities unique and powerful resources designed to help provide equal care to a long-overlooked group of patients, as well as assistance in complying with regulatory requirements and access to high-quality staff training.

HEI participants are given scores in four criteria: foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care, LGBTQ Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies and LGBTQ Patient and Community Engagement. Participants that receive the maximum score in each section earn the coveted status of “2018 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader.”

AtlantiCare’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, which includes physicians, staff and leadership from throughout AtlantiCare, established employee resource groups that educate staff about the culture/community; celebrate community/cultural holidays and events; represent AtlantiCare at community/cultural events; enhance recruitment efforts; and identify top health concerns and developing ideas for addressing these concerns. AtlantiCare ERG groups include African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Disabilities, Hispanic Americans, Interfaith, LGBT, Military, Recovery and Women.

AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger, is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,900 employees and more than 900 physicians serve the community in nearly 90 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010.

For more information about AtlantiCare, visit, find AtlantiCare on Facebook or call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 888-569-1000. —V.F.

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