Bay Pines VA Receives “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” Designation - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Bay Pines VA Receives “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” Designation

April 4, 2018

BAY PINES, FL – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) has been recognized as a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.
The annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) scores healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees. This is the fifth consecutive year the healthcare system has received this designation. Bay Pines VAHCS earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBTQ patients, and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality health care and respect they deserve.

“It is an honor to receive HEI’s designation as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality again this year,” said Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS. “We are committed to ensuring that Veterans are provided a safe, all inclusive, high-quality health care experience and this designation demonstrates that commitment,” she said. Bay Pines is one of 418 healthcare facilities nationwide to be named a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality and one of 95 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.

“These top-scoring facilities are not only establishing policies that save LGBTQ lives every day, they have become vocal advocates for equality in the public square. This year, we are heartened to see corporate champions, including many healthcare systems, not just speaking out, but also doubling down on their commitment to equality,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign. 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 LGBTQ communities. For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2018, 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 nearly 4,300 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is one of the largest VA health care systems 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, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at