Following an extensive internal review of health benefits, along with discussions with Basic Rights Oregon and transgender advocates, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is removing exclusions to healthcare for transgender employees. OHSU employs nearly 14,000 employees and is Portland’s largest employer.
This change extends coverage for care related to gender transition and will help to ensure that OHSU employees cannot be discriminated against when seeking insurance coverage of health treatments related to or unrelated to their transgender status.
“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.
The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have identified transgender health care as being medically-necessary. Yet many transgender Oregonians are routinely denied coverage for basic, medically-necessary care solely because they are transgender. This discrimination is all too common and can lead to serious—even life-threatening—conditions. Additionally, no business or municipality that covers gender affirming health care has found it to be cost prohibitive.
In taking this step forward, OHSU joins several other notable Oregon organizations and businesses in making its employee health insurance coverage more inclusive. These include: Intel, Stoel Rives, New Seasons Market, the National College of Natural Medicine Student Coverage, Multnomah County, and the City of Portland.
“I am grateful for OHSU’s leadership in removing barriers to medically-necessary care,” said Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director of Basic Right 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.”