Advocates plan to rally at state medical board meeting in support gender-affirming care

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The Department of Health alleges there's no 'quality evidence' supporting the benefits of gender-affirming care.

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.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


4 comments

  • Don’t Look Up

    August 4, 2022 at 2:04 pm

    Here we go again Florida draconian political hacks are making decisions in areas of personal and family health care.

    Prior to acceptance and pharmaceutical intervention; in desperation 40% of transgender youth committed suicide.

    DeSantis needs to be stopped. Florida may need Federal intervention if necessary.

    Vote DeSantis out of office.

    Reply

      • L. Adler

        August 5, 2022 at 6:09 pm

        There is nothing specifically being discussed here about lack of parental consent, and of course lack of parental consent would lead to the increase of suicide rate; it’s likely there are other very large social stopgaps at play there if a child is seeking care without the help of their parent. This also isn’t talking about just treatments, nor is it at ALL about lowering legal barriers. Procedural transition is also not common for kids, but Florida is seeking to demonize ALL trans youth with all the bills passed as of late. Social and hormone-based transition is part of the attack, too.

        There is no *lowering* of anything going on here. These are just people who want to live their lives and their truth, in spite of others who want to demonize and sensationalize the issue due to religious concerns/personal dislike/political pressure. That’s it, plain and simple.

        Reply

      • Jenny LaRosa

        August 8, 2022 at 1:37 pm

        I so agree with you. This website is so liberal/Progressive minded and out of touch with the common population.

        Reply

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