October 15, 2020

Madison hospitals implementing policies on patient discriminatory behavior

Madison, Wis. — As healthcare organizations, SSM Health, UnityPoint Health – Meriter and UW Health have a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We do not tolerate racism, bigotry or discrimination directed to our patients or visitors. We also believe our caregivers should be treated with the same dignity and respect by our patients and visitors.

SSM Health and UW Health have recently adopted policies that clearly and unequivocally outline that our organizations will not tolerate discriminatory behavior against our physicians, providers and staff and will not honor patient requests for alternate caregivers that are rooted in bigotry. UnityPoint Health – Meriter is in the process of adopting a similar policy.

"We stand firmly in support of our staff and providers," says SSM Health Wisconsin Regional President Damond Boatwright. "Our health care systems are filled with exceptional caregivers who deserve our respect and dignity."

Please know that our commitment to providing care to all who need it remains the same and our organizations will continue to follow all elements of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). All hospitals strive to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care.

"Our organization has been working on a number of initiatives to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for our patients and community," said Sue Erickson, President and CEO at UnityPoint Health – Meriter. "This same support must be afforded to our caregivers."

We are proud of the culture our organizations are creating here in Madison. We truly believe that through our shared values of diversity, equity and inclusion we will build a stronger community, together.

"Our diversity is our strength. We stand ready to call out and confront behavior motivated by bigotry. And we are committed to addressing any manifestations of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, prejudice, and intolerance," said Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO at UW Health.