Safe Zone designation identifies sites providing safe and inclusive care to the LGBTQ community
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – 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 80 sites statewide that have demonstrated they are providing safe, affirming, and inclusive care to Rhode Island’s LGBTQ community. Applications are due by Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at 5 p.m.
“We recognize that getting quality 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 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 more than 80 Safe Zone providers in over 25 towns and cities 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.
Providers that meet certification requirements will be given a 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 October.