A coalition of gay, queer and transgender friendly groups plan to attend a state medical board meeting in Fort Lauderdale Friday to protest attempts by the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration to deny gender-affirming health care for people under the age of 18.
Members of the SAVE Action PAC are working with Equality Florida and PRISM, among others, to rally their members to attend the Florida Board of Medicine meeting to “push back against Gov. DeSantis’ assault on transgender Floridians,” according to a press release.
Florida Department of Health (DOH) General Counsel John Wilson submitted a petition to initiate rule-making. The DOH wants the board to pursue a rule “due to the lack of quality evidence regarding the effectiveness of such treatments for gender dysphoria and to provide guidance to the medical community and protect health, safety and welfare of Floridians.”
The petition proposes the board alter its “standard of care” rules to prohibit patients under the age of 18 from receiving sex-reassignment surgery and puberty-blocking hormone and hormone antagonist treatments. Wilson’s request also would have the board change the standard of care rules to require older patients to sign a consent form and to wait 24 hours before starting such treatments.
The DOH also wants the board to issue guidance allowing physicians to provide “appropriate care for patients currently undergoing hormone therapy at the time of the adoption of this rule or upon entry into this state.” The petition does not further elaborate on what “appropriate care” is for patients currently being treated for gender dysphoria.
Department of Health Secretary Joseph Ladapo in April released “recommendations” that gender-affirming care be banned for children under the age 18. But the recommendation has no legal weight.
On the eve of the board’s June 3 meeting, Ladapo sent a letter to the board members asking them to create Florida-specific standards of care for gender-affirming care.
“The current standards set by numerous professional organizations appear to follow a preferred political ideology instead of the highest level of generally accepted medical science,” Ladapo wrote in a letter to board members. “Florida must do more to protect children from politics-based medicine. Otherwise, children and adolescents in our state will continue to face a substantial risk of long-term harm.”
Board members never publicly discussed the request or pursued rule-making as Ladapo requested.
Meanwhile, Medicaid Director Tom Wallace, who works at the pleasure of the Governor, deemed the health care experimental and investigational. The finding precludes the Florida Medicaid program from providing the care because Medicaid does not cover experimental services. The DeSantis administration held a public meeting on the proposed rule to ban Medicaid from reimbursing for transgender care.