Safe Zone designation identifies sites providing safe and inclusive care to the LGBTQ community
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Jan. 16, 2024) – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is now accepting applications for its newest cohort of LGBTQ Safe Zone facilities. Healthcare facilities designated as Safe Zones will join more than 100 sites statewide that have demonstrated they are providing safe, affirming, and inclusive care to Rhode Island’s LGBTQ community.
Applications are due by Thursday, February 15, at 5 p.m.
“Feeling respected and safe while seeking care is a critical part of achieving one’s own health & well-being, particularly the LGBTQ community, which has historically experienced mistreatment and discrimination in healthcare settings,” said Scott Gowrie, program lead for Safe Zone. “The Safe Zone Program helps direct Rhode Islanders to safe, affirming, and inclusive settings when they are seeking care.”
BCBSRI LGBTQ Safe Zones are certified based on a variety of factors. Certified facilities must train staff members in LGBTQ cultural competency, be committed to protecting staff and patients from discrimination, provide gender-neutral bathrooms, utilize inclusive forms and intake procedures, and display a commitment to working with the LGBTQ community.
Since launching its LGBTQ Safe Zone program in 2015, BCBSRI has certified 117 Safe Zone locations in more than 25 cities and towns across Rhode Island. These providers span a range of specialties that include primary care, dental and mental health practices, pediatric care, assisted living facilities for older adults, and more. Visit bcbsri.com/safezones to view the complete list of Safe Zone facilities.
Facilities that meet certification requirements will be given a customized Safe Zone plaque and window cling so that visiting patients recognize it as a place that offers safe and affirming care to the LGBTQ community. Certified Safe
Zones will also be added to a list that members can use to seek inclusive care settings. There is no cost to apply or obtain certification.
To learn more or apply for certification, visit bcbsri.com/providers/safezone-program. BCBSRI will notify newly certified facilities by March.