Dr. Megan Bird of Legacy Health, Amy Penkin of Oregon Health & Science University and Andrea Zekis of Basic Rights Oregon advocate for reduced barriers at the March 10 Health Evidence Review Commission Hearing.

On Thursday, March 10, the state commission that oversees coverage and guidelines for medical services in the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) further reduced barriers to life-saving care for transgender Oregonians with gender dysphoria.

This moves Oregon closer to being fully aligned with the international standards of care established by experts in transgender health care.

Here’s a quick run-down of the victories Basic Rights Oregon and our health advocates achieved for transgender Oregonians on OHP:

  1. Removes hormone replacement therapy (testosterone) requirement prior to chest construction surgery
  2. Modifies the hormone replacement therapy (estrogen) requirement prior to breast construction surgery to allow for “any” contraindication to, intolerance of, or patient refusal of, instead of the narrower “medical” contraindication—which fails to fully address a broader spectrum of health concerns.
  3. Clarifies guidance regarding when “revision” surgery will be a covered service. For example, there may be problems that fall outside typical complications, which may warrant an additional surgery after an initial surgery to resolve. This will be limited to medical necessity and won’t cover aesthetic considerations.
  4. Adds coverage for laser hair removal for surgical site preparation.
  5. Adds coverage for pre/post-surgical pelvic physical therapy services.

Basic Rights Oregon worked with doctors from Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Health System to get testimony and worked with staff of the committee that oversees OHP to ensure they understood that lowering these barriers to care are life-saving for transgender Oregonians with gender dysphoria.

Basic Rights will continue to advocate for policies that lower barriers and allow transgender folks to receive the care they deserve and to live happy, healthy lives. You can get more resources on healthcare for transgender Oregonians at our Resources page.