A new policy established at the Veterans Health Administration means transgendered veterans can now receive better healthcare.
The VHA issued a directive to all of its facilities establishing a policy of providing equal healthcare to its transgendered and intersexed veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system or are otherwise eligible for VA care.
“Far too often, veterans are denied the benefits we have earned when we face discrimination at our local VA health facility,” said Stephanie White, NCTE Managing Director, and a veteran, through a press release. “This Directive addresses that head-on. All veterans deserve to be treated equally.”
The new directive mandates that:
- all VA staff must provide care to transgendered patients “without discrimination in a manner consistent with care and management of all Veteran patients”;
- states that all personal information about transgendered status and medical care remain confidential;
- reaffirms that the VA’s policy of not paying for, or performing sex reassignment surgery; and
- states that all other medically necessary healthcare for transgender veterans is covered, including sex-specific care such as mammograms and pap smears, as well as transition-related care such as hormones and mental health services.
“This Directive from the Obama administration is a great first step,” said Mara Keisling, NCTE executive director, in the press release. “We will continue advocating for the fair and equal treatment of transgender veterans until all restrictions on medically necessary care are lifted and transgender vets are treated as equally and as well as they deserve.”
NCTE has created a PDF guide to the new policy with common questions and answers that can be accessed through the NCTE website, at www.transequality.org/PDFs/VHA_Trans_Health.pdf