Sutter Lakeside offers an all-inclusive healthcare system – Lake County Record-Bee

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LAKEPORT—Sutter Lakeside Hospital and Clinics was recently recognized as a leader in LGBTQ+ healthcare equality through the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Health Care Equality Index 2022; a survey that assesses healthcare facility policies and practices related to equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

“Winning the designation and receiving full points in each area is a huge accomplishment for our hospital and clinics. We are proud of this recognition which demonstrates our commitment to equity and inclusion in all aspects of our operations,” said Scott Knight, Executive Director of Sutter Lakeside Hospital. “As caregivers, we are always actively looking for tools to help us improve the care we provide to our patients. We want to ensure it is inclusive and welcoming to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or other diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. The Sutter Health Network is committed to providing compassionate care for all. Regardless of your sex, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, our team can connect you to the medical services you need.

Erin Viloria, human resources manager at Sutter Lakeside Hospital, added that the non-discrimination policy and grievance process are taken seriously – all designed to ensure patients receive professional, respectful and timely care. during their stay in hospital. “Furthermore, we respect the value of relationships and treat visiting patients accordingly. Family members include spouses, domestic partners, civil union partners and significant persons of different and same sex, parents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents parents and cousins,” she said.

Sutter Lakeside Hospital also has guidelines in place that address the needs of transgender employees, as well as those who go through a process of gender affirmation/transition during their employment.

“We support patients of diverse gender identities wherever they are on their journey. At Sutter Lakeside Medical Practice and Sutter Lakeside Community Clinic, we have family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and specialty care providers who can help you or your loved one with specific medical needs. to gender diversity in a compassionate and safe space. Our providers have the experience and training to meet the many needs of transgender and gender non-binary patients here in Lake County, but we can also refer to providers in the broader Sutter Health network (counties of Sonoma, Marin and San Francisco) for more comprehensive care, such as hormone replacement therapy and gender-affirming surgery,” said Rachel Walsh, acting director of Sutter Lakeside Clinics.

“Many LGBTQ+ people have experienced traumatic events or discrimination. We want to ensure that access to mental health services is available. Within the Sutter Health Network, we offer comprehensive assessments and treatment options tailored to your lifestyle, including telehealth, which allows you to meet with an expert by phone or video; medication management; and letters in support of gender-affirming medical care,” Walsh added.

“Supporting our staff and clinicians through continuing medical education is an essential part of our mission to develop our employees throughout their careers at Sutter Health. Few clinicians have learned how to care for LGBTQ+ patients during their medical training, which can make it difficult for these patients to find providers who know how to meet their specific medical needs,” Viloria noted.

To fill this gap, the workforce has access to more than 60 different LGBTQ+ training courses, covering topics ranging from the basics of LGBTQ+ patient-centered care and cultural competence to more specialized training in patient health. transgender people, HIV and the treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. . Courses are offered as interactive e-learning modules (self-paced, on-demand), as well as pre-recorded and live webinars. Training is optional and, with manager approval, staff may use education leave to accrue training time. Staff at Sutter Lakeside Hospital and Clinics completed 25 hours of LGBTQ+ medical training in 2021.

“We have a medical records system in place that includes information on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as other demographic data. This allows patients to voluntarily disclose their preferred pronouns and sexual orientation, so our staff can properly accommodate them and provide a more personalized healthcare experience,” Walsh said. “We also encourage providers and staff to add a rainbow to their badge to indicate that they are LGBTQ+ inclusive. Even the perception that discrimination might occur is enough to cause LGBTQ+ patients to delay seeking medical care, so simple visible symbols, such as these badges indicating that someone is an LGBTQ+ advocate, can make a big difference.

Viloria agreed, “We are an equal opportunity employer that embraces diversity and inclusion. We actively promote an equitable work environment where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, and their supporters/allies, feel a sense of community and opportunity. We foster a culture where all individuals feel respected, are treated fairly, and have the opportunity to excel in their chosen careers and reach their maximum potential. To this end, Sutter Health supports a Pride Inclusion Resource Group.

The Pride Inclusion Resource Group is an internal planning and advisory committee, made up of employees who are focused on improving care for LGBTQ+ patients. Group members have the opportunity to network, share knowledge and experiences, participate in personal and professional development, receive mentorship, and improve their leadership skills by informing strategic decisions.

“Despite improving general social attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people in the United States, negative attitudes (homophobia, transphobia) are still widespread. As long as they face inequities in their health care experience, it There will be individuals in the community who delay seeking care or avoid medical settings, putting their health at risk.To address these issues, we work hard to ensure they are confirmed by their health care providers and that ‘they feel safe seeking services at Sutter Lakeside Hospital and Clinics,’ Knight said.

To set up care or for questions about gender care offerings, call (650) 853-6740.

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