NEWTON — Newton Medical Center was recognized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index as a Leader in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Health Care Equality. The recognition was marked on March 31 with a ceremony raising the equality flag outside the hospital.“Dignity and respect are crucial values to any place of healing, both as a patient and as an employee. Those values are at the heart of all we do at Newton Medical Center and throughout Atlantic Health System,” said Joe DiPaolo, president of Newton Medical Center. “This recognition is reassurance to LGBT patients, their families, and employees that time spent at any of our Trusted Network of Caring facilities will be equitable and non-discriminatory.”This is Newton Medical Center’s second year achieving this recognition. Newton’s sister hospitals also achieved this honor — Morristown Medical Center for the third year, Overlook Medical Center for the second year, and Goryeb Children’s Hospital’s for the first year. Goryeb Children’s Hospital is one of only 27 children’s hospitals in the nation with this recognition, ensuring LGBT children or their families receive unbiased care as they undergo health challenges and changes during this highly critical developmental time. The honor was marked with a ceremony at each campus.The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is a national benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities’ policies and practices related to the equality and inclusion of their LGBT patients, visitors, and employees. The four Atlantic Health System hospitals join only 10 other hospitals in the state to be recognized. The Healthcare Equality Index rated 2,061 of the nation’s health care facilities on their commitment to LGBT equality and inclusion, based on four foundational elements of LGBT patient-centered care: an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policy, an LGBT-inclusive visitation policy, an LGBT-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy, and staff training in LGBT patient-centered care. Of the health care facilities rated, 496 were designated a 2016 Leader in LGBT Health Care Equality. Newton Medical Center has been providing care to the community since 1932 and serves the people of Sussex and Warren counties in New Jersey, Pike County in Pennsylvania, and southern Orange County in New York.