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Billings Clinic Named Top Performer in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Health Care Equality Index | News

Billings Clinic press release:

WASHINGTON— The Billings Clinic is pleased to announce that it has received a rating of 85 out of 100 and the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” in the 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The HEI is the nation’s leading benchmark survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors, and employees. A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey and 251 of them, including the Billings Clinic, earned the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer”.

“This designation is a commitment to our patients, our staff and our community as a whole that we will meet each person where they are, as they are, whenever they come to us for care,” said Sarah Hall. , co-chair of the Billings Clinic LGBTQ+ Committee. “Creating a culture at Billings Clinic where everyone feels safe is not something we can achieve in a day or a year, but something we must actively practice. These efforts will never truly be over and we are excited to see how this practice evolves in the future.

The Billings Clinic is one of only two healthcare organizations in Montana and Wyoming to participate in the HEI. As an organization, it has participated in the HEI since 2017 and has consistently strived to uphold its standards, continue to improve policies and practices, and better meet the needs of LGBTQ+ patients, guests, and employees. This involves a wide scope, including internal policies, staff training, public involvement and relations, record keeping and care services.

This work is one component of a broader and ongoing organization-wide commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for patients, their families and employees.

“Everyone deserves to have access to quality health care, to be respected and heard by their doctor and to feel safe in the establishment where they are treated. But LGBTQ+ people often face discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare settings, leading community members to avoid care and anticipate that our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment. , said Tari Hanneman, director of health and aging. to the human rights campaign. “The Health Care Equality Index, at its core, works to ensure that LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their health care providers and feel safe when seeking services. Our active HEI participants are truly pioneers in the healthcare sector implementing robust and comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, through their work, will become standard practice.

The HEI evaluates and rates healthcare facilities according to detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:

  • Core policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care;
  • Services and support for LGBTQ+ patients;
  • employee benefits and policies; and,
  • Patient and community engagement.

In the 2022 report, an impressive 496 facilities earned the HRC’s “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation, receiving the top score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. A further 251 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation. with marks between 80 and 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, healthcare facilities are demonstrating that they are going above and beyond when it comes to adopting LGBTQ+ care policies and practices.

The remarkable progress reflected in the HEI 2020 includes:

  • 93% of participants met HEI training requirements, completing over 200,000 hours of staff training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.
  • 82% of participating facilities achieved the title of Leader or Top Performer.
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they included both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their patient non-discrimination policy.
  • 99% of HEI participants indicated that they include both ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ in their non-discrimination employment policy.
  • 81% of HEI participants provide transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to their employees, up from 75% in 2019, which was the first year it was required to receive Leader status.

“We are proud of the growth we have seen at Billings Clinic in the care of LGBTQ+ patients,” said Sara Agostinelli, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. “While the recognition is exciting, we also know this is an important reminder of the work we need to continue to focus on moving forward. We know the LGBTQ+ community has suffered harm in the healthcare as a whole, and even now there is still work to be done to continue breaking down barriers for our LGBTQ+ patients. We are committed to continuing this ongoing journey and making healthcare accessible to everyone in our community.”

In addition to active survey participants, the HRC Foundation proactively researched key LGBTQ+ inclusion policies at over 1,300 non-participating hospitals. These research hospitals were much less likely to have LGBTQ+ non-discrimination policies in place, in stark contrast to near-perfect uptake by active participants. Of the hospitals surveyed where HRC was able to find or obtain patient non-discrimination policies surveyed, only 70% have policies that include both sexual orientation and gender identity, compared to 99% of participants of HEIs.


The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to bring about transformational change in the daily lives of LGBTQ+ people, bringing to light inequalities and deepening public understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on promoting transgender and racial justice. His work has transformed the landscape for over 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, promoting the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through scholarship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, he forges partnerships with advocates in the United States and around the world to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.


The Billings Clinic is Montana’s largest independent healthcare organization, serving Montana, Wyoming and the West Dakotas. A not-for-profit organization headed by a physician CEO, the Billings Clinic is governed by a board of directors comprised of community members and physicians. At its core, the Billings Clinic is a physician-led, integrated, multi-specialty group practice with a 304-bed hospital and Level II trauma center. The Billings Clinic has more than 4,700 employees, including nearly 600 physicians and advanced practitioners offering more than 80 specialties. Billings Clinic is the first Magnet-designated healthcare organization in Montana and a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. More information can be found at