From the National Center For Transgender Equality:
Today, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) issued a Directive to all of its facilities establishing a policy of respectful delivery of healthcare to transgender and intersex veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 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,” noted Stephanie White, NCTE’s Managing Director and a veteran. She also said, “this Directive addresses that head on. All veterans deserve to be treated equally.”
The new directive does several things:
- Indicates that all VA staff must provide care to transgender patients “without discrimination in a manner consistent with care and management of all Veteran patients.”
- Clearly states that all personal information about transgender status and medical care is kept confidential.
- Reiterates that under existing regulations sex reassignment surgery cannot be performed or paid for by the VA.
- Reiterates that all other medically necessary healthcare for transgender veterans is covered, including sex-specific care like mammograms and pap smears, as well as transition-related care such as hormones and mental health services.
NCTE has created a guide to the new policy with common questions and answers that can be accessed through the NCTE website here.
Mara Keisling, NCTE’s Executive Director, also had this to say about the new Directive: “This Directive from the Obama administration is a great first step. 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.”