There is no sense in sugarcoating it: The past several days have been really tough.

We’ve been very open about the fact that St. Charles is facing significant financial challenges, and last week, we had to address those by doing something no organization wants to do: Reducing our workforce.

While we are heavy-hearted over the departure of our colleagues and grateful for their dedication to our community, it is important to remember that good work continues to happen at St. Charles.

One example of that work is recognized in the 2022 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), an annual report that honors health systems for their policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of LGTBQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

This year’s report names all of our hospitals – in Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond – as “Top Performers” with regard to our work to make St. Charles a welcoming and accepting place for LGBTQ+ people to both receive and provide care.

I’m very proud of this recognition, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, welcoming and accepting all people is simply the right thing to do. When we say St. Charles is committed to caring for all, we mean it.

Secondly, we didn’t make this list by talking about how important inclusion, diversity, equity and acceptance is at St. Charles. We made it by turning those priorities into action: We’ve held training for our medical staff, our leaders and our caregivers. We’ve updated our policies to protect LGBTQ+ caregivers and patients from discrimination. We’ve hired a dedicated caregiver to oversee this work. We’ve welcomed Nike’s vice president of global diversity and inclusion to our board of directors, and we are learning from him.

And to help celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June, St. Charles Foundation and the St. Charles IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, acceptance) Council are involved in Pride events in Bend and Prineville. We will also be flying the Progress Pride flag at our four hospitals, because we know it’s important to demonstrate our commitment to IDEA principles not only through action, but visibility in the community as well.

With all of that said, St. Charles’ appearance in the 2022 HEI doesn’t mean we have achieved our goal and are finished with this work. In fact, we can always do more, because we can always be more inclusive and more welcoming to our patients and caregivers.

It is work worth doing, and this recognition is evidence that St. Charles is willing to do it.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and for your support.


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