More R.I. providers certified as LGBTQ Safe Zones

PROVIDENCE – A new wave of Rhode Island health care organizations have been certified as LGBTQ Safe Zone providers by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

Newly certified groups include:

  • PVD Psychological Associates in Providence
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency in Johnston
  • Mary’s Home for Children in North Providence
  • Lifespan Physician Group Lifestyle Medicine Center

The Safe Zone program, introduced by BCBSRI in 2016, certifies health care providers that offer safe, affirming and inclusive care to the LGBTQ community. The process includes training, protection for patients and staff from discrimination based on gender identity or expression, gender neutral bathrooms and inclusive forms and procedures.

More than a dozen Rhode Island providers have earned certification as part of the program.

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The newest group is the first to include elder care, an important addition to LGBTQ-friendly services, Guillaume Bagal, BCBSRI’s diversity and inclusion leader, said.

“In this robust new group of safe zone providers, it is of particular significance that we have identified safe zones for elder care for the first time,” Bagal said. “Despite creating families of choice and other support networks, many LGBT older people still experience high rates of social isolation. They are twice as likely to be single and to live alone, and three to four times as likely to be childless.”