Grace Cottage Earns Top Score in Healthcare Equality Index

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The national Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation of Washington, DC, has announced that Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital has earned an “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” designation, with a score of 95 out of 100 in the Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey, and 251 of those earned “Top Performer” designation.

Only two Vermont hospitals, Grace Cottage and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in White River Junction, earned “Top Performer” status with scores of 95/100.

The HRC Foundation’s HEI is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:

  • Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care;
  • LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support;
  • Employee Benefits and Policies; and,
  • Patient and Community Engagement.


HRC Foundation’s Tari Hanneman, Director of Health & Aging, says that, “Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care. But LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment.”

Hanneman adds that, “The HEI, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”

2022 marks the 15th anniversary of the HEI campaign.

Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital is an independent, non-profit healthcare center in Townshend, VT. The facility includes a 19-bed Critical Access Hospital offering skilled rehabilitation, acute, palliative, and 24/7 emergency care. It also has full-service laboratory; a diagnostic imaging suite; a Rural Health Clinic providing primary and mental health care, free social services, and wellness counseling; an outpatient rehabilitation department offering physical and occupational therapy; a full-service retail pharmacy; and a Community Wellness Center offering healthy living classes and support groups.
The HRC Foundation is the educational arm of the HRC, America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.