Florida’s medical boards have agreed to delay discussions on developing state-specific guidelines for the provision of gender-affirming care to transgender people who suffer from gender dysphoria.
Members of the Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee agreed on Thursday to delay the discussions after a Sept. 30 public meeting in Tallahassee was canceled following Hurricane Ian.
The boards won’t develop rule language without the benefit of a public hearing and are trying to reschedule the four-hour public meeting for the end of October or early November, sources told Florida Politics.
The delay means the medical boards won’t begin developing the state-specific rules before the General Election. Indeed, the boards may not be able to delve into rule making until December or some time next year.
The term “transgender” refers to people whose sex assigned at birth does not align with how they identify, according to the American Association of Psychiatry. Gender dysphoria refers to psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity. And though gender dysphoria often begins in childhood, some people may not experience it until after puberty or much later, the psychiatry association maintains.
Members of the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine agreed to develop Florida guidelines for the treatment of gender dysphoria in August. Though the boards had not previously delved into the issue, they agreed to do so after Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo asked them to tackle it.
Ladapo asked the boards to prohibit patients under the age of 18 from receiving sex-reassignment surgery and puberty-blocking hormone treatments. Ladapo also wanted the boards to change the standard-of-care rules to require older patients seeking gender-affirming care to sign a consent form and to wait 24 hours before starting such treatments.
Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ administration already has banned Medicaid from reimbursing the cost for gender-affirming care, regardless of age. The ban has been challenged in federal court.
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which houses the Medicaid program, provided data to Florida Politics showing that 12 children and 13 adults underwent surgical procedures in FY 2021-22 that Medicaid reimbursed. The most common procedure for both children and adults was a simple mastectomy, with three children and six adults undergoing the procedure sometime between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.
Medicaid does not provide any benefits to children without parental consent. Children are defined as beneficiaries under 21 years of age, meaning the children category would include information on 18, 19 or 20-year-old beneficiaries.