Belleville, NJ – For the first time in its 150-year history, Clara Maas Medical Center gathered for a flag-raising ceremony in recognition of National Pride Month, to be observed for the entire month of June. Employees, physicians and community partners were present for the June 6th flag-raising, held near the fountain at the front entrance of the hospital.

 

This year, the Medical Center earned the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), a coveted designation from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality. The Foundation is the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. This is the hospital’s first recognition from the HRC Foundation which grants the designation each year to healthcare facilities nationwide selected to receive this designation. 

 

“This year, our flag-raising celebration honors the fact that the patients we care for will receive equitable, inclusive healthcare—regardless of lifestyle, sexual orientation, religion or any other personal preference” said Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at Clara Maass Medical Center. “Having earned the HEI designation confirms that we have created an environment at Clara Maass where all patients are always treated with the highest respect and dignity” said Clyne.

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“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is clear in all that we do at Clara Maass. Our policies and practices reflect the level of respect every individual that comes through our doors can expect to receive, and this is why we are raising the flag this year” said Alfred Torres, MBA, Chief Human Resources Officer.

 

According to the National Library of Congress, National Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Manhattan, which represented a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.

 

                                                      

The designation was reported in the 11th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), reflecting on a decade of progress in LGBTQ healthcare. Clara Maass, along with other facilities of  RWJBarnabas Health earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate a commitment to equitable, inclusive, and compassionate care for LGBTQ patients and their families, who often face significant challenges in securing the healthcare they need and deserve.

 

The honor is given to facilities that meet LGBTQ-inclusive benchmarks from the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index, an annual survey that encourages equal care for the LGBTQ community by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to patients, visitors and employees.

The flag will remain in place for the entire month of June. In addition to the flag-raising, the hospital's LGBTQ Advisory Committee will host a Paint and Sip Party for employees. Proceeds from the Paint and Sip event will be donated to The Essex County LGBT Reaching Adolescents in Need (RAIN) Foundation in East Orange, NJ which provides emergency shelter services specifically for the LGBT individuals experiencing crisis leading to homelessness. The Hospital will also co-sponsor an annual picnic for the Bloomfield Pride Committee and this week, the hospital will unveil signage to identify gender neutral bathroom facilities for the comfort of its patients, visitors and employees.

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About Clara Maass Medical Center
Located in Belleville, NJ, Clara Maass Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, provides a complete continuum of care to residents of northern New Jersey. Clara Maass recently completed state-of-the-art campus expansion project featuring a new four-story 87,000 square foot building with a private, 32-bed Intensive Care Unit, new Main Entrance and Lobby, Retail Pharmacy, Patient Registration Area and designated new space to accommodate our future Emergency Department expansion.  Clara Maass’ services include: The Cancer Center, Center for Breast Health and Disease Management, Radiation Oncology, Infusion Therapy, Cardiac Services Elective and Emergency Angioplasty and Cardiac Rehabilitation, The Pain Management Center, The Joint & Spine Institute, a Vascular Lab, The Vein Center, The Wound Center, The Center for Sleep Disorders, The Bariatric Surgery Center, Rehabilitation; Therapy Services which includes, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, The Eye Surgery Center, Maternity Services and Parent Education, Pediatrics, Center of Excellence for Latino Health, and the Health and Wellness Center.  Clara Maass has been recognized ten Grade ‘A’ scores for patient safety and quality by The Leapfrog Group. It is listed by the American Hospital Association as one of Healthcare’s Most Wired hospitals. In 2016-17 Clara Maass has received the Healthgrades Obstetrics and Gynecology Excellence Award and the Labor and Delivery Excellence Award. Clara Maass received Disease Specific Care Certification from the Joint Commission for Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), Congestive Heart Failure, Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Advanced Certification in Palliative Care. Clara Maass earned Clara Maass’ steadfast commitment to improve the health and well-being of the communities it serves is exemplified through award winning programs including the nationally recognized HELP Volunteer program, recipient of the American Hospital Association 2017 HAVE Award, and the Wellness Assessment Van for Elders (WAVE) which was recognized as the New Jersey Hospital Association’s 2017 HRET Community Outreach Award.  For a physician referral or more information about Clara Maass, call 1-888-724-7123 or visit www.rwjbh.org/claramaass.