May 24, 2023

Activists, Big Pharma Pressure Health Care Providers With LGBT 'Inclusion' Score

The Healthcare Equality Index is one of many ideological scoring systems influencing corporate America, including the medical field.
Activists, Big Pharma Pressure Health Care Providers With LGBT 'Inclusion' Score
The Human Rights Campaign flag and the transgender flag at a Supreme Court protest, 2019

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By Hudson Crozier

The scoop: The Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest LGBT advocacy group, has a scoring system that evaluates health care facilities based on LGBT “inclusion.” The “Healthcare Equality Index” (HEI) requires facilities to ensure easy access to sex change treatments for children and adults, implement preferred pronoun policies for staff and patients, conduct trainings on LGBT issues, and more in order to create the most “inclusive” environment possible. It is funded by Pfizer and a pharmaceutical lobbying group.

The influence: An analysis from the Human Rights Campaign boasts that hospitals participating in the scoring system adopt more pro-LGBT policies and values than nonparticipating ones. The group found that 82 percent of participating hospitals achieved top-ranking HEI scores in 2022. Numerous health facilities advertise their high HEI scores on their websites.

How does this happen? While the HEI score has no formal power, there are powerful incentives behind it. Activists present it as a way for health providers to safely comply with accreditation requirements and anti-discrimination laws, cater to a “highly loyal market segment” (LGBT patients), and avoid “negative publicity” by conforming to ideological and social pressures. Doctors can also use the training material as a cost-free way to complete Continuing Medical Education credit, which is mandatory in several U.S. states.

Why it matters: Together with “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI), “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG), and others, the HEI is one of many initiatives that is helping to advance progressive values in corporate America, education, and medicine. In this case, activists are successfully pressuring doctors to embrace transgenderism and controversial “gender-affirming care” for minors.

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