BCBSRI Implements first LGBTQ+ Safe Zone Program at pediatric center
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- Waterman Pediatrics announced Monday the implementation of Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island’s Safe Zone Program– making them the first pediatric facility in the Ocean State to adopt the program. The certification is driven towards equal healthcare resources and care for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s great for expanding the reach of the program,” said Scott Gowrie, Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist for BCBSRI. He continued, “The Safe Zone program started in 2015, so it’s been going on for several years now.”
The main goal of the program is to address the challenges the LGBTQ+ community has faced in pursuit of adequate healthcare.
Gowrie explained, “We’re hoping that Waterman’s certification can encourage other pediatric medical care facilities in the community to explore the opportunity.”
Healthcare centers in Rhode Island become certified as a safe zone after meeting a certain criterion. Staff training, gender neutral bathrooms, inclusive language in forms, and a commitment to reaching out and serving the LGBTQ+ community is required.
“We have many young children and teenagers who are starting to wonder about their gender and how to express themselves in this world,” said Dr. Elizabeth Lange, Pediatrician at Waterman Pediatrics. She continued, “Everybody is on a journey of being thoughtful and sensitive… especially in this time of a pandemic when everybody’s nerves are sensitive and raw, we all continue to be on that journey.”
Waterman Pediatric joins 3 dozen other healthcare centers in Rhode Island that have implemented this program from BCBSRI.
For more information and guidelines for healthcare centers to become certified, visit bcbsri.com/safezones.