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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
September 8, 2006

Cleveland Clinic to offer partner benefits

Cleveland--The Cleveland Clinic will offer domestic partner benefits to its employees beginning January 1, 2007, the hospital announced on September 6.

The benefits will be the equal of those offered to opposite-sex spouses of hospital staff enrolled on the Cleveland Clinic Health Plan, and will be open to same-sex partners living with an employee of the Clinic.

Clinic executive director of public and media relations Eileen Sheil confirmed the benefits, but noted that there were still issues to be ironed out, including enrollment.

�Details on enrollment are still to come,� she said, noting that the hospital surveyed other employers that offer domestic partnership benefits and is modeling its own program after theirs.

�We�re excited,� Sheil enthused. �It�s a good thing. Every time we expand our benefits, I think it�s good for our workforce and their families.�

She pointed out that the domestic partner benefits are just one of the changes the hospital is making to help the families of their employees, pointing to an adoption assistance program also in the offing.

The announcement came five years after University Hospitals of Cleveland announced that their employees would be receiving benefits. The UH plan, as originally announced, would have included staff at affiliate hospitals. However, within two and a half months, it was revealed that the benefits were only being given to staff at the main campus, and earlier information was in error.

In addition to University Hospitals, Health Alliance of Cincinnati offers domestic partner benefits to their employees, according to a Human Rights Campaign database of Ohio companies offering such programs.

At least 78 Ohio employers offer domestic partner benefits to their workers, according to the HRC database. Major ones include Federated Department Stores, Donato�s Pizza, Standard Register, Ohio Savings Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Key Bank, National City, NCR, Nationwide Insurance and Abercrombie and Fitch.

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