Health Care

Gender Prison: Washington starts process for equal health coverage for transgender people

Laura Harrington is an employee of the University of Washington. Her twelve-year-old son is transgender. In 2008 she attended a conference to learn how to better raise her son, who first expressed his maleness at the age of 5. While there, she met the man who is now her husband, who is a transman.

Because of exclusions in both her health care policy and that of her employer, many of her husband's treatments are not covered.

There have been times when we've had to decide between paying the electric bill or paying for his hormone therapy. The electric bill has necessarily won out. As a result, he suffers bouts of depression, anger, frustration, stagnation, all of the logical outcomes for someone who isn't living the life they need to live.

--Laura Harrington, to state officials this past spring

Harrington and other advocates contacted the state Public Employees Benefits Board in April about the challenges transgender Washingtonians face.

Last week the benefits board began the process of discovering just how fast such coverage can be included in private and state-run insurance plans serving government employees and retirees. The goal is to require such plans to cover transgender services by January 2016...and to remove specific exclusions to hormone treatments and other care before that date.

This will require careful, thoughtful work on our part and due diligence to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based benefit ... that assures the highest quality of care to people with gender dysphoria.

--Dan Lessler, chief medical officer for the state Health Care Authority

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Feces meets fan in Rochester

Effective January 1, 2015 the city of Rochester, NY will cover medical services related to gender reassignment, including medical and psychological counseling, hormone therapy, and cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries, as announced by Mayor Lovely Warren at Empire State Pride Agenda's Spring Dinner on May 17.

The initiative is part of a plan steered by City Councilmember Matt Haag to raise the city's Municipal Equality Index.

Eliminating barriers to health care is simply the right thing to do. The city was the first to support domestic partnerships, and I am happy that we lead the effort to equalize benefits for all once again.

--Mayor Warren

The inclusion of transition-related care in municipal benefits will improve the health and well-being of transgender employees and also send a message to the rest of our state that we need to provide medically necessary care to all transgender New Yorkers. Rochester has long been a leader on LGBT civil rights and this is just one more example of how this great city sets a strong example for the rest of New York state.

--Nathan M. Schaefer, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda

Additionally, beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the University of Rochester will offer transition-related health care coverage as part of the student health care plan.

It's a medical necessity. It will also help promote a more inclusive environment and a more healthy and productive student body.

--John Cullen, coordinator of outreach for the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership at UR

UR thus becomes the 52nd university in the nation to adopt a progressive health care policy for its transgender students.

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Gender Prison: The Third Word

 

It's a *__________*.
 

 

 

Dr. Norman Spack is a childhood endrocrinologist. He treats transgender kids. But 75% of his clents are located within 100 miles of his base at Boston's Children Hospital. Unfortunately, there are transgender kids all over the country who deserve equally good treatment.

Sr. Spack gave a TED Talk last autumn which has just recently been shared publicly (it was posted to the TED website on April 16). I've been saving this for the proverbial "rainy day" when I don't have time to write a column. And today I'm feeling the drizzle.

Spack talks about his efforts to treat those transgender kids in their journey through puberty.

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Illinois Transwoman Refused Medical Care Because Religion

Naya Taylor found out that her primary care physician, Aja Lystila, considered her to be less than human. When Taylor requested the start of hormone therapy in order to treat her gender dysphoria, Lystilla first claimed that she was not experienced enough to supervise the hormone therapy of transgender person. But the clinic in which Lystilla works provides hormone therapy to non-transgender patients every day.

Later the truth of the matter came out, when clinic staff told Taylor,

We don’t have to treat people like you.

When they said, ‘we don’t have to treat people like you,’ I felt like the smallest, most insignificant person in the world. The doctor and office provide hormone replacement therapy for others at the same clinic, they just refused to do that for me.

—Naya Taylor

The Affordable Care Act is partially a civil rights law in that it prohibits health care providers that receive federal funds from discriminating against any individual on the basis of sex for the purpose of health care.

Taylor is being represented by Lambda Legal in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday charging Dr. Lystila and the Carle health care services group which operates the clinic with denying medical care. Lambda Legal claims that discrimination based on sex extends to discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, as per Title IX.

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New study calls for improved medical care for transgender patients

Daphna Stroumsa, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, has published research on medical discrimination against transgender people whichis available in the American Journal of Public Health: The State of Transgender Health Care: Policy, Law and Medical Frameworks. Access to the full document requires APHA membership or paid subscription, which I do not have.

Abstract:

I review the current status of transgender people’s access to health care in the United States and analyze federal policies regarding health care services for transgender people and the limitations thereof. I suggest a preliminary outline to enhance health care services and recommend the formulation of explicit federal policies regarding the provision of health care services to transgender people in accordance with recently issued medical care guidelines, allocation of research funding, education of health care workers, and implementation of existing nondiscrimination policies. Current policies denying medical coverage for sex reassignment surgery contradict standards of medical care and must be amended.

Dr. Strousma is a graduate of The Hebrew University Haddassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Israel. She calls for the medical establishment to immediately address of the situation.

 

 

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CDC: 27% of Trans women are HIV+

On December 9, 2013 the Center for Disease Control released a report entitled HIV Among Transgender People.

Two days ago Leela Ginelle, communications and development intern for TransActive Education and Advocacy wrote an Op-Ed at the Advocate: Why the CDC's Latest HIV Report Is So Alarming.

The CDC report says an estimated 27% of transgender women are HIV positive, which is nearly 50 times as high as the rate for other adults. A New York City study found that more than 90% of newly diagnosed transwomen are African-American or Latina, and more than half are in their 20s.

Ginelle asks the question, "Why?"

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Connecticut prohibits health insurance discrimination against transgender people

A December 19 bulletin from the State of Connecticut's Insurance Department prohibits health insurers in that state from implementing a blanket policy denying transition-related health care. Insurers will only be able to evaluate medical necessity of any given treatment on case by case bases.

This makes Connecticut the fifth state to require providers to cover treatments related to gender transition, after California, Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont.

[Connecticut] wanted to go out and affirmatively make [the policy] very clear.

As we were turning the corner into the new year, we just wanted to make sure every constituency was clearly heard.

--Deputy Insurance Commissioner Anne Melissa Dowling

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The Health Care Problem in the US is a Price Fixing Scam

Passing the racket onto an intermediary and then dumping it on the consumer is part of the scam. Medicare needs full market share so it can bring all the prices down since no one will RICO Act providers, for profit hospitals, and insurance companies passing that cost in addition to 13% extra for administration costs onto you even with the ACA. Forcing you to participate in this scam is what we call Obamacare.

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