Monday, May 2, 2016

MyOnCallDoc GenderCare: Transforming Healthcare for Transgender and LGBT Communities

Recognizing the resounding barriers to health care for the LGBT community, MyOnCallDoc and The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) are partnering together to establish a pilot program that will allow doctors and psychiatrists who have received specific training to address the needs of transgender individuals through telemedicine. When MyOnCallDoc began investigating the current health care environment for transgender individuals and those in the LGBT community, WPATH was the only organization actively training health care professionals in the intricacies of treating transgender patients. Through this partnership, MyOnCallDoc will be introducing an entirely new focus program called GenderCare. The MyOnCallDoc GenderCare pilot program will allow doctors from WPATH’s trained community to offer 24/7 telemedicine and telepsychiarty care to the LGBT and transgender communities. The mission of the program is to expand access to quality, affordable care for LGBT patients through telemedicine services. WPATH is also working with insurance companies to increase the number of services that are covered for a transgender patient.

MyOnCallDoc was founded on principals of inclusion and providing broader access to high-quality, affordable health care services for ALL individuals. These are the principles that continue to guide our development of new projects and programs. Most recently, we have been researching barriers to access for those within the transgender and LGBT communities. Unfortunately, the realities surrounding discriminatory practices in health care and with insurance companies for LGBT individuals can be disheartening. As transgender individuals attempt to address their mental and physical needs, they are often denied care and access to medical health professionals – even for episodic conditions. Most individuals have stated they have refrained from seeking care because of perceived discrimination or denial of care. The National Transgender Discrimination Society reported that, “health outcomes for all categories of respondents show the appalling effects of social and economic marginalization, including much higher rates of HIV infection, smoking, drug and alcohol use and suicide attempts than the general population.” It was also reported that transgender people experience over 4 times the national rate of HIV infection.

While the realities can be sobering, it is incredibly important to celebrate the small steps in legislation and standards that have been enacted recently that prohibit LGBT, gender non-conforming and DSD individuals from being denied health care services and coverage. The Affordable Care Act which “prohibits sex discrimination in hospitals and other health programs or facilities receiving federal financial assistance as well as bias based on race, national origin, age, and disability,” is a first rate example. While this covers all health programs and facilities that receive federal funding assistance, there are plenty of individuals seeking care within the LGBT community that don’t have access to any of these programs. Additionally, there are many organizations and companies working to transform the status quo and expand health care access. WPATH is committed to transgender health and formulating strategies and care that address the full spectrum of needs for those with gender identity disorders. Their vision is to, “bring together diverse professionals dedicated to developing best practices and supportive policies worldwide that promote health, research, education, respect, dignity, and equality for transgender, transsexual, and gender-variant people in all cultural settings.” WPATH has already trained over 1300 medical health providers and continues to offer a Transgender Health Certification Course. Through WPATH’s commitment to elevating transgender health care, thousands of individuals now have access to medical resources, scientific research studies, organizations, a community of like-minded individuals, and trained professional health care providers. If you have questions about Gender Care or wish to be connected to a provider, don’t hesitate to call MyOnCallDoc at 855-362-3278 or visit our website.

Organizations providing further information:
  • National Center for Transgender Equality – “The National Center for Transgender Equality is the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people.” http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/healthcare
  • Lambda Legal – “Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.” http://www.lambdalegal.org/issues/health-care-fairness

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