Bay Pines VA Named “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by National Survey - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Bay Pines VA Named “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by National Survey

March 24, 2016

BAY PINES, FL – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) has been recognized as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization.  This is the third straight year the healthcare system has received this recognition.

The findings were part of HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2016, a unique annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees.

The Bay Pines VAHCS earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients, and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality health care and respect they deserve.

Across our healthcare system, we are committed to providing a safe, all-inclusive, high-quality health care environment for all Veterans," said Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS.  “Our recognition from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation validates that commitment.  We are honored to be recognized as a national leader for the third year in a row," she said.

Bay Pines is one of 496 healthcare facilities nationwide to be named Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality and one of 114 VA healthcare facilities recognized as part of this group. Other VA facilities in Florida honored include the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa, Miami VA Healthcare System, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Orlando VA Medical Center and West Palm Beach VA Medical Center.

“Despite all the progress we’ve made, far too many LGBT people still lack inclusive and affirming healthcare.  Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality are helping to change that, and, in the process, making the lives of LGBT patients and their families better each and every day,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign.  “LGBT people have a right to be treated equally in all aspects of our lives, and HRC celebrates Bay Pines for its work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all patients.”

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.  The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Health Equity coordinates facility participation in the Healthcare Equity Index.  This office is responsible for championing equitable health for all Veterans including Veterans from LGBT communities.

For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2016, or to download a free copy of the report, visit 

For more information about the VA Office of Health Equity, visit 

About the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing more than 4,000 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is the fourth busiest VA health care system in the country in terms of patients served and is accredited by The Joint Commission, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and several other nationally recognized accrediting organizations. The Bay Pines VAHCS operates nine facilities to include the main medical center located in Bay Pines and outpatient clinics located in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring.  To learn more, please visit or like us on Facebook at