Gender-affirming Surgeries in the Era of Insurance Coverage: Developing a Framework for Psychosocial Support and Care Navigation in the Perioperative Period

Madeline B Deutsch
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 2016, 27 (2): 386-91
Transgender people have a gender identity different from their birth-assigned sex. Transgender people may seek gender-affirming surgeries to align their body with their identified gender. With increasing visibility of transgender identities, and recognition of the importance of gender-affirming care, has come a policy shift toward mandated coverage or provision of blanket exclusions of these procedures by insurance companies and Medicaid. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health provides guidance to mental health professionals evaluating patients for gender-affirming surgeries, including making a diagnosis and assessing for capacity to consent. However the expansion of covered gender-affirming surgeries to safety-net populations has highlighted the need for an expanded presurgical process which includes a psychosocial assessment and care navigation. The proposed framework expands the preoperative assessment to include these components, and can be used to guide both health systems and insurance providers in the development of transgender medicine programs.

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