“Continuing to expand this program is critical to ensuring all members of the Rhode Island LGBTQ community have access to the care they need,” said Jenny Bautista-Ravreby, BCBSRI diversity, equity, and inclusion manager. “This program helps facilitate access to affirming care for this under-served community with specific healthcare needs, one that has historically struggled with healthcare interactions, and has often forgone necessary regular care due to feelings of alienation, stress, frustration and fear.”
Since 2016, BCBSRI has certified more than 40 LGBTQ Safe Zone locations across Rhode Island representing a number of specialties, primary and dental health and behavioral health services. The newly designated BCBSRI LGBTQ Safe Zone providers joining the list in 2021 include:
Newport Mental Health: With two newly certified locations in Middletown, this health center provides trauma informed, evidence-based services to children, adolescents, families, and adults who are experiencing problems with mental illness, substance use disorders or stress in their lives.
WellOne Primary Medical & Dental Care: Located in Pascoag, North Kingstown, Foster and North Scituate, these centers provide a wide variety of services for various health issues, ranging from illness and exams to dental care, x-rays, and counseling.
Women’s Resource Center: This agency serves battered adults and their children and helps to rebuild their lives through support groups, emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling and providing court and law enforcement advocates. The center also supports LGBTQ teens and specializes in providing access to HIV testing.
Women’s Partial Hospital Program, Butler Hospital: This program helps women manage depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, problematic behaviors and other psychiatric disorders. As a relatively small program, their services are personalized for individuals including members of the LGBTQ community during the program and in their discharge plan.
Care New England Medical Group (CNEMG), Family Care Centers (FCC) and Internal Medicine Centers (IMC): With eight locations across the state, CNEMG provides primary care for families and individuals with specific services designed for the LGBTQ community in their Family and Internal Medicine offices. The Gender Clinic housed within the FCC provides a variety of services to gender diverse patients including new consults, hormone replacement therapy, family planning, preventative care and primary care.
Certification requirements for BCBSRI LGBTQ Safe Zones include things like staff training specific to the care of LGBTQ patients, protection for patients and staff from discrimination based on gender identity or expression, gender neutral bathrooms, inclusive forms and procedures, and a public commitment to connecting with and serving the LGBTQ community.
To learn more about BCBSRI’s LGBTQ Safe Zone program, or if you are a provider or practice looking to become certified as a BCBSRI LGBTQ Safe Zone, visit bcbsri.com/providers/safezone-program.