Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Transgender patients discriminated against for health care services

Date:
February 18, 2014
Source:
Henry Ford Health System
Summary:
Discrimination against transgender people -- as many as one million Americans identify themselves as transgender -- should immediately be addressed by the medical establishment, backed by policy change at the national level to provide equal access to quality health care, argues a new article. A top priority, it recommends, is that all health care programs funded by the federal government be required to provide coverage of care -- including sex reassignment surgery -- while transgender patients make the physical transition to the sex matching their gender identity.

Discrimination against transgender people -- as many as one million Americans identify themselves as transgender -- should immediately be addressed by the medical establishment, backed by policy change at the national level to provide equal access to quality health care. That is the primary recommendation of a study by Daphna Stroumsa, M.D., MPH, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Henry Ford Hospital, whose research was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

"Bias against transgender people takes an enormous toll on their health through direct harm, lack of appropriate care and a hostile environment, and through transgender people's avoidance of the medical system as a result of discrimination and lack of respect," Dr. Stroumsa says. "The medical establishment has a duty, and an ability, to protect transgender patients from such harms."

A top priority, she recommends, is that all health care programs funded by the federal government be required to provide coverage of care -- including sex reassignment surgery -- while transgender patients make the physical transition to the sex matching their gender identity.

These should include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicaid and Medicare, and Children's Health Insurance Program -- also known as Children's Medicaid.

"Private insurance may ultimately follow adoption of full coverage by federally funded programs," Dr. Stroumsa writes. "But until it does, federal guidelines protecting transgender people from discrimination by private insurance companies is warranted, including a ban on the practice of denying medical care coverage by linking the care to transition, which is not covered under most policies."

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes gender identity in its nondiscrimination clause, to what extent it will protect transgender people from denial of coverage remains to be seen, she adds.

The ACA increases the number of people who will have access to basic health care. Because of work-related and other discrimination, transgender people are statistically more likely to find themselves without coverage and thus stand to benefit from the general increase in access to health care that the ACA provides.

As part of its duty to provide appropriate, quality care, the medical establishment should include transgender-sensitive care in all medical education "as has been done with other cultural competencies."

To back this up, Dr. Stroumsa calls for federal grants to help fund educational programs teaching postgraduate-level medical care of transgender patients, including sex reassignment surgery. She notes that the ACA "has taken a first positive step in that direction" by providing funding for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) cultural competency training. Such training has already been implemented in some "big-city" health departments, and is underway for staff of the National Health Service Corps.

Among the study's other recommendations:

•Establish more health centers dedicated to caring for transgender patients as well as strengthen those already in operation.

•Draft clear guidelines for all federally funded health centers, including appropriate language, adoption of gender-neutral bathrooms and health records that respect transgender patients' preferred names and gender pronouns.

•Include questions regarding gender identity in health surveys to help monitor the progress and effects of new transgender health care measures.

•Help overcome the high rates of unemployment in the transgender population by hiring transgender people in the health care workforce. This would also offer an important avenue to address some of the challenges and barriers this population faces in the health care system.

A final recommendation of the study is that those who care for transgender patients should collect and publish data with the goal of improving that care.

"It goes without saying that all such research must be conducted with sensitivity and respect toward participants," Dr. Stroumsa concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Henry Ford Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daphna Stroumsa. The State of Transgender Health Care: Policy, Law, and Medical Frameworks. American Journal of Public Health, 2014; 104 (3): e31 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301789

Cite This Page:

Henry Ford Health System. "Transgender patients discriminated against for health care services." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110431.htm>.
Henry Ford Health System. (2014, February 18). Transgender patients discriminated against for health care services. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110431.htm
Henry Ford Health System. "Transgender patients discriminated against for health care services." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110431.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins