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OHSU extends health care coverage for transgender employees

Following an extensive internal review of health benefits along with discussions with transgender advocates, Oregon Health & Science University is increasing access to medically necessary care for transgender employees.

OHSU, Portland’s largest employer, joins several other notable Oregon organizations in making its employee health insurance coverage more inclusive, including the city of Portland, Multnomah County, Intel Corp. and New Seasons Market.  

The change extends coverage for care related to gender transition. It also helps ensure barriers are removed when transgender individuals seek insurance coverage for health treatments related to, or unrelated to, their transgender status.

“One of OHSU’s core missions is to be a diverse organization that nurtures a community of inclusion,” said Norwood Knight-Richardson, M.D., M.A., M.B.A., OHSU senior vice president and chief administrative officer. “Expanding services to include transgender benefits affirms our commitment to further enhancing a diverse and inclusive environment at OHSU.” 

 The American Medical Association designates transition-related health care as medically necessary. Several other physicians’ organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Association of Social Workers, and OHSU experts agree that improved care for the transgender community is needed. Based on these expert opinions and its own internal review, OHSU decided to extend services.

“I am grateful for OHSU’s leadership in removing barriers to medically necessary care,” said Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, which advocates to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. OHSU officials spoke with the advocacy group as part of its decision-making process.

“This will make a real difference in the lives of OHSU’s transgender employees and underscores the institution’s commitment to improving health for all Oregonians.”

While OHSU is proud to expand insurance coverage to become more inclusive, several other companies in Oregon and worldwide have also made this change. Examples include: Bank of America, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Ford, Google, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Pepsi, Sears, State Farm, Walt Disney and Yahoo.

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