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St. Paul, MN – Planned Parenthood North Central States (PPNCS) today announced that its health care practices have been named “Top Performers” by the national Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for the high-quality health care they provide to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) patients.

In 2007, the Human Rights Campaign designed a Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) to evaluate how equitable patient and employee experiences are for LGBTQ individuals in health care practices across the nation.  Using a 0 to 100 scale, the HRC evaluates health care providers’ staff training, benefits, non-discrimination policies, and patient services.  PPNCS received a score of 95 and health care providers who earn a score in the 80 to 95 range are recognized as “Top Performers.”  Of the 765 health care providers that participated in the HEI 2020 survey, less than 200 earned a Top Performer designation. 

PPNCS’ interdisciplinary staff team monitors the organization’s policies and practices that impact the experience of LGBTQ patients and guides any needed changes.  The organization also recently created a new position, LGBTQ Care Coordinator, to support continued excellence in LGBTQ care.  This work is part of the organization’s broader commitment to advance reproductive health equity in our region.    

“I want to thank our team for their dedication and the Human Rights Campaign for providing a framework to hold providers accountable,” said Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of PPNCS.  “Planned Parenthood is a remarkable organization, but it’s very easy for any organization to get complacent with the status quo.  Our LGBTQ patients need and deserve the best care possible, and we are committed to continuing to be a trusted source of nonjudgmental care for all.”

In 2016, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities identified the LGBTQ community a “health disparity population,” in part because people who identify as part of the group have less access to accessible, unprejudiced health care. 

“The reality is, when LGBTQ people don’t feel welcome in health care settings, they too often go without basic health care,” said Stoesz. “Our health centers offer lifesaving services like cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and STI prevention, screening and treatment, so making everyone feel welcome and valued is more than just common decency, it has life and death implications.” 


Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high-quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 29 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota).  Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 99,000 people in our region.