There are so many questions, some based on curiosity, some based on bias, some based on prejudice, about the provision of care for people who are transgender.
The result of these questions is that people who need medically necessary care don’t get it, often with devastating results. In fact, it can be argued that not providing this care is actually more costly to health care and to society than providing it. (see: Why I’m going to Capital TransPride this weekend | Ted Eytan, MD for a run down)
That’s why I am excited to read that this $2+ million study has been funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (@PCORI).
And … Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Southern California, and Georgia are going to be involved in the study, along with the Veterans Administration.
At the Center for Total Health (@kptotalhealth) we often talk about how the experience of our members over the past 70 years has helped medicine understand the best ways to care for people. This study comes from a place where we want to know how to help people who are trans be healthy, and that makes me happy :). Take a look:
This project is an electronic medical record based study evaluating a group of 6,500 transgender individuals, whose care is covered by the Veterans Administration (nationally) or by Kaiser Permanente (in Georgia and in Northern and Southern California). In this study, we will compare frequencies of various diseases and deaths from various causes in transgender persons and separately in those who request female-to-male and male-to-female sex change to similar measures in a sample of men and women who are not transgender and are of the same age and race. We will also compare health problems by treatment categories (e.g., no medical treatment, versus treatment with hormones only, versus hormones plus surgery). The proposed project will be carried out by a team that includes experts in chronic and infectious diseases, mental disorders, and sexual minority health issues. All of the project activities will be implemented in consultation with the study advisors who will serve as advocates for the transgender community. This will likely be the largest study of transgender persons available to date, and the first study of its kind conducted in the United States.
One more thing – although this study is going to produce valuable data, it is not going to change the determination made by the major medical professional organizations that not providing it is discrimination (see link above).