HCA Healthcare earns top score on 2022 Disability Equality Index®

Text: HCA Healthcare named a 2022 Best Place to Work for Disability and Inclusion by the Disability Equality Index.

HCA Healthcare has been recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion,” receiving a top score of 100 on the 2022 Disability Equality Index® (DEI), a comprehensive tool for measuring disability workplace inclusion.

Launched in 2015 by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN, the DEI provides companies with scores ranging from 0-100 to help them build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality.

“At HCA Healthcare, we are committed to supporting our colleagues, patients and their companions with disabilities,” said Sherri Neal, HCA Healthcare’s chief diversity officer. “We are dedicated to ensuring that persons with disabilities are treated with dignity and respect, and are provided opportunities to participate in the workplace fully and equitably access our quality health care services. Being recognized as a ‘Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion’ is an incredible honor that underscores our colleagues’ collective commitment to deliver on our mission to care for and improve human life.”

Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that over one billion people live with a disability. Disability crosses lines of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and religion.

The 2022 DEI benchmarked organizations for their disability inclusion efforts in categories such as culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices (benefits, recruitment, employment, education, retention and advancement, accommodations), community engagement, and supplier diversity.

“Disability inclusion is a rapidly expanding aspect of corporate culture, and it’s gratifying to partner with 415 companies on the 2022 Disability Equality Index,” said Jill Houghton, President and CEO of Disability:IN. “These top-scoring companies not only excel in disability inclusion, many are also adopting emerging trends and pioneering measures that can move the disability agenda from accommodation to inclusion and ultimately, genuine belonging.”

Our commitments to HCA Healthcare’s workforce

HCA Healthcare is committed to ensuring equity from the inside out by strengthening our diversity and fostering a culture of inclusion. Our strategy includes supporting colleagues in the work they do every day, creating opportunities for connection and dialogue, and enabling us to better attract, engage and develop diverse talent. Our commitments to our colleagues include:

Benefits for colleagues

HCA Healthcare offers benefits coverage for hearing aids, vision care and mental wellness support for full and part-time colleagues.

To support the mental health and wellbeing of our workforce, colleagues have access to:

  • Free, unlimited virtual telemedicine visits for psychiatry and psychology through Doctor on Demand
  • Free access to Sanvello and TalkSpace mental wellbeing apps
  • Access to the Optum Live and Work Well mental wellness portal, which includes mental health resources such as a community provider directory, meditation guidance tutorials, etc.

BRAVE Conversations

Our award-winning BRAVE (Bold, Relevant, Authentic, Valuable and Educational) Conversations program provides colleagues with opportunities to discuss complex topics through a safe, immersive dialogue experience.

In 2021, thousands of colleagues attended BRAVE Conversations on topics such as mental health, celebrating LGBTQ+ pride and advocating for change, building bridges with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and honoring our veterans.

Colleague Networks

HCA Healthcare’s Diversability Colleague Network seeks to advance awareness and inclusion for colleagues with disabilities, as well as those who serve as caregivers or advocates for persons with disabilities. Through education, recruiting and targeted programming, this network strives to create an equitable workplace that is welcoming, safe, and prepared to optimize the talents of colleagues with disabilities. 

The HCA Healthcare Hope Fund

The HCA Healthcare Hope Fund is a colleague-run, colleague-supported 501(c)(3) charity that helps colleagues and their immediate families when faced with financial hardship due to natural disaster, illness/injury, domestic violence, death of a loved one or other difficult situations.

Read HCA Healthcare colleague Dan Finger’s story on the HCA Healthcare Impact Report website. Dan received help from the Hope Fund to care for his one-year-old granddaughter, Ryllah. She was born with a rare genetic disorder impacting her development, including the ability to walk.

Our commitment to equitable patient care

At HCA Healthcare, we believe excellence in healthcare starts with a foundation of inclusion, compassion and respect for our patients and each other. We are committed to meeting the social, cultural, linguistic and spiritual needs of our patients, their families and the communities we serve. Our commitment to our patients includes:

Physical access efforts

Our healthcare facilities have established policies and procedures describing appropriate steps and accommodations available for people with disabilities. To prepare for potential evacuation scenarios, our healthcare facilities perform emergency drills to ensure the safety of patients, visitors, staff and those with physical needs receive the assistance needed to exit safely.

Our buildings are regularly evaluated for access concerns. If accessibility issues are identified, our internal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) team takes action to remediate the barriers. We annually conduct ADA construction projects at our facilities to not only tackle interior physical access concerns but external ones, including parking and accessible routes.

Access to healthcare services

We stand for accessible, high-quality healthcare, delivered with compassion, integrity and kindness for all who come through our doors. HCA Healthcare ensures equitable access to colleagues, patients and caregivers who are deaf or hard of hearing, are blind or have low vision, and utilize service animals. We provide free aids and services to people with disabilities to communicate effectively with us, such as: qualified sign language interpreters or written information in other formats such as large print, braille, audio and accessible electronic formats.

Digital accessibility

As part of our commitment to disability inclusion and equity, HCA Healthcare has established a dedicated team to champion and implement digital accessibility. The team’s work includes auditing patient-facing websites annually and working with our Information Technology Group (ITG) on requirements to ensure that our digital products are accessible.

Our commitments to HCA Healthcare’s communities

HCA Healthcare invests in healthier tomorrows for the communities we serve through strategic community partnerships. As we strengthen relationships with our neighbors in our hometowns, we are addressing key issues tied to education, workforce development, civic/economic advancement, veterans, health equity and well-being. Our commitments to our communities include:

Partner support

HCA Healthcare has a history of supporting organizations that are committed to advancing equity for people with disabilities and their families. We’ve supported organizations such as:

  • Family Voices of Tennessee: A nonprofit, parent-led organization that works to support families raising children with special healthcare needs, chronic illnesses or disabilities.
  • Special Kids, Inc.: A nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering, assisting and supporting families of children with disabilities.
  • First Steps Nashville: A nonprofit organization aiming to educate and care for children with special needs and medical conditions alongside their typically developing peers in inclusive environments and support their families.

Did you know? July 26 is National Disability Independence Day

National Disability Independence Day is aligned with the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The legislation, enacted in 1980, aimed to address discrimination and the lack of equitable access for people with disabilities. Accomplishments of ADA include:

  • Addition of structural enhancements, such as elevators, ramps, U-shaped door handles, and lever-operated and door-push mechanisms
  • Access to information due to the widespread use of sign-language interpreters
  • Access to large-print books and orated exams
  • Access to entertainment and educational performances with earphones and audio description devices

In honor of the 32nd anniversary of the ADA – a civil rights act that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities – two colleagues share how disability inclusion efforts make HCA Healthcare a great place to work.

Robin’s Story

Woman sitting down while talking to class about her prosthetic leg.
HCA Healthcare colleague Robin Yoder spoke to Health Occupations Specialty program students at Monacan High School in Virginia.

For HCA Healthcare colleague Robin Yoder, counseling cancer survivors at the Hawthorn Cancer Center at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Johnson-Willis Hospital is more than just a job. As a cancer survivor and amputee, it’s a passion that comes from her personal knowledge and experience.

Robin was diagnosed with bone cancer as an 18-year-old high school senior. A promising athlete, Robin’s diagnosis ruined her chances at a division I scholarship.

“As a teen, I couldn’t understand how I could be running on the basketball court one week, and three weeks later I was fighting for my life,” she said.

Robin’s teenage cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgeries saved her leg, but she was soon off to a college campus that was difficult to navigate.

As a freshman, she faced challenges that other students were spared, such as accessing the upper floors of academic buildings without elevators. The idea of going to the cafeteria but not being able to carry a tray intimidated her, so she didn’t eat for the first week of school. When it rained, she couldn’t hold an umbrella while on her crutches.  She was also personally exposed to people with physical differences for the first time. She experienced the feeling of being an “other” along with many of her peers with disabilities. She felt shy about asking for help and not being self-sufficient.

Over time, ADA regulations made things easier. Aids like ramps, rails and other structural building changes became more commonplace. When she later lost her leg to cancer, she had to adapt again to using a prosthetic leg to walk.

For Robin, the experience of becoming a person of different abilities has been humbling. She has learned to ask for help. To ask colleagues to walk slower. To be vulnerable. To learn how to use ADA tools to enhance her mobility.

Woman pumping her fist in excitement after finishing triathlon.
HCA Healthcare colleague and para-athlete Robin Yoder reaches the finish line at the Power Sprint Triathlon in Virginia on May 20, 2012.

She’s made advocating for others facing disabilities her mission. Today, as a social worker at Johnston-Willis Hospital, Robin uses her own story to educate others about learning to live with disabilities and raise awareness for people with disabilities in her community. She encourages people to engage with people with disabilities, such as prompting, “Do you mind me asking what happened to your leg?” When Robin sees parents trying to keep their kids from looking at her, she offers to let the children touch her prosthesis and ask her questions.

“One time, when I was at the beach, a 3-year-old followed me around the entire week but never said anything. At the end of the week, the little girl finally came up and asked where my leg went.” Robin told the little girl her story so that the next time she met someone with a disability, she would better understand.

“Rather than leaving folks feeling embarrassed, or having those with disabilities feeling ignored or ostracized, I choose to help each other grow and lean into having these conversations.”

Robin is a para-athlete who participates in running, rowing, pickleball and triathlons while serving as an advocate and peer counselor throughout the community and around the globe, which won her the 2021 HCA Healthcare Frist Humanitarian Award.

Although the changes enacted four decades ago with the passage of the ADA have made life for people with disabilities easier, she knows there is much more advocacy needed to increase accessibility in communities.

Derrick’s Story

Man smiling for photo in front of a tree.
HCA Healthcare colleague Derrick Pierce is a case manager at HCA Florida Trinity Hospital in Florida.

Derrick Pierce began his career with HCA Healthcare as a registered respiratory therapist and nurse at HCA Florida Largo Hospital.  In 2010, Derrick noticed a small bump on his left arm, which ultimately led to a diagnosis of leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that begins in smooth muscle tissue.

“I was in shock. I had no family history of cancer and then to hear it was a rare form, I was very nervous. I didn’t know what to expect,” Derrick recalled.

After chemotherapy and radiation, doctors successfully removed the tumor from Derrick’s arm. Derrick’s arm was much weaker after part of his bicep needed to be removed. Still, he was able to return to work as a respiratory therapist and nurse.

Two years later, Derrick’s cancer returned, and he faced further, more aggressive treatment and the complete removal of his bicep. His cancer continued to advance despite treatment and surgery. With new challenges ahead, Derrick leaned on his colleagues at HCA Healthcare for support.

“I worked with my colleagues in Human Resources and they were so helpful in coordinating the continuing of my assistance with a disability,” said Derrick. “They were very accommodating and understanding of the life-altering therapy needed to help me. I even had opportunities to meet with the Vice President of Human Resources, who was so helpful and compassionate about what I was going through. She and the company were there to support me and made sure I had everything I needed.”

Following Derrick’s amputation, he recognized he could no longer fully perform his job duties as a nurse. After working with human resources and his management, Derrick was able to work at sister facility HCA Florida Trinity Hospital in a new role: a case manager.

“The hospital was instrumental in supporting me through everything,” said Derrick. “My wonderful colleagues helped me out tremendously by supporting me financially with donations, and even more, I was blessed as the recipient of the Hope Fund.”

“I can never thank the people I have been involved with enough for helping me through my darkest times. No amount of ‘thank yous’ is sufficient. HCA Healthcare has been my second family. Having been involved with the company for over 20 years, I’ve spent so much time being a part of a team that truly helps improve the lives of others.”

Derrick Pierce, case manager, HCA Florida Trinity Hospital

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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