Safe Zone designation identifies sites providing safe and inclusive care to the LGBTQ community
PROVIDENCE, RI (January 19, 2022) – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is accepting applications for its newest cohort of LGBTQ Safe Zone providers. Healthcare providers designated as Safe Zones will join more than 40 sites statewide providing safe, affirming and inclusive care to Rhode Island’s LGBTQ community. Applications are due by Tuesday, February 15, 2022.
“We recognize that getting care can be more difficult for certain communities than it is for others and that the LGBTQ community has historically experienced discrimination in healthcare,” said Jenny Bautista-Ravreby, BCBSRI diversity, equity and inclusion manager. “We’re committed to furthering health equity however we can, and the LGBTQ Safe Zone program provides a way for Rhode Islanders to find inclusive, affirming care with confidence.”
BCBSRI LGBTQ Safe Zones are certified based on a variety of factors. Certified providers must train staff in caring for LGBTQ patients, be committed to protecting staff and patients from gender-based discrimination, provide gender-neutral bathrooms, utilize inclusive forms and intake procedures, and display a commitment to working with the LGBTQ community.
BCBSRI launched its LGBTQ Safe Zone program in 2015. The program now includes more than 40 Safe Zone providers in 16 towns and cities across Rhode Island. These providers span specialties including dental and mental health practices, substance abuse and sexual trauma centers, pediatric care offices, and assisted living facilities for older adults. Visit bcbsri.com/safezones to view the complete list of Safe Zone providers.
To qualify as an LGBTQ Safe Zone, providers must meet certification requirements. Those who do so will be given a window cling and plaque, so patients visiting that site will recognize it as a place that offers safe and affirming care to the LGBTQ community. To learn more or apply for certification online, visit bcbsri.com/providers/safezone-program. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on February 15, 2022. BCBSRI will notify newly certified providers in April 2022.