LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Lancaster General Health is getting national recognition for LGBTQ+ inclusion in health care. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation named LGH an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader, its highest honor.

This is the third year LGH has received this honor, but hospital officials said there is still more work to be done.

“This recognition tells us that we’re on the right track,” Alice Yoder, executive director of community health at LGH, said.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation gives this designation to hospitals committed to providing equitable and inclusive care to the LGBTQ+ community.

“Research suggests that they experience health disparities due to stigma and discrimination,” Yoder said. “That leads to higher rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse and suicide.”

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Yoder said it is a responsibility to close that gap.

“Keeps us honest and really keeps us to be ahead of the curve in terms of providing care,” she said.

However, the recognition isn’t just about patient care. LGH had to meet criteria for its employees too.

“We actually put some specific strategies in place to attract more people from the LGBTQ community,” Yoder said.

She said LGH wants its staff to reflect the community they care for.

“Having people in our workforce that actually understands health disparities, understands where people that they’re seeing as patients, where they’re coming from…we feel provides, even enhances the type of treatment that they get,” she said.

Yoder said she also hopes the hospital’s efforts and this recognition are a signal to the LGBTQ community.

“When they come, they’ll feel accepted, welcome,” she said.

The recognition means a lot, but Yoder said being a leader means their work is never done.

“This award is not the end, and certainly it’s a journey that we continue to be on,” she said.

Penn Medicine is also working to expand access to health care for the LGBTQ community across the state, particularly treatments like hormone replacement therapy for trans individuals. They said they want to meet people where they are.