By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland’s largest employer, announced today that it will expand access to healthcare for transgender employees. The decision comes after an “extensive internal review” of health benefits and conversations with advocates, including Basic Rights Oregon.
The medical school and teaching hospital joins other high profile businesses and local municipalities in working to end healthcare discrimination, including Nike, Intel, New Seasons Market, Multnomah County, and the City of Portland.
“One of OHSU’s core missions to is be a diverse organization free from discrimination,” said Norwood Knight-Richardson, M.D., M.A., M.B.A., OHSU vice president and chief administrative officer, in a release. “The American Medical Association designates transition-related health care as medically necessary. Several other physician organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Association of Social Workers, and OHSU experts agree that improved care for the transgender community is needed. Based on these expert opinions and our own internal review, OHSU decided to extend our services.”
In addition to ensuring that medically necessary care is covered, OHSU is also working to other reduce barriers to care for coverage of care not-related to transition that sometimes arise due to a person’s transgender status (for example: denial of coverage for services associated with a particular gender).
“I am grateful for OHSU’s leadership in removing barriers to medically necessary care,” said Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon. “This will make a real difference in the lives of OHSU’s transgender employees and underscores the institution’s commitment to improving health for all Oregonians.”
Below, transgender folks and their allies talk about the important of trans-inclusive healthcare.