Prizm News / July 11, 2018 / By Bob Vitale

(Equitas Health photo)

 

‘We want transgender and gender-nonconforming folks to want to work here,’ executive says.

 

By Bob Vitale

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Equitas Health, the largest healthcare provider for LGBTQ people in Ohio, will begin covering more medical services for its transgender employees starting Aug. 1.

The nonprofit agency is adding about a dozen services and procedures to employee health plans that already cover gender-confirmation surgeries. They’ll be subject to the same deductibles and co-pays as other services in employee plans.

“As a provider of transgender health services, we wanted to give our employees access to the same type of care we think all our patients deserve,” said Peggy Anderson, chief operating officer for Equitas Health, which has 17 offices in 11 cities throughout Ohio.

Equitas Health has about 320 employees and serves more than 67,000 patients and clients. The company also publishes Prizm magazine and PrizmNews.com.

Anderson said employees have told Equitas Health executives that procedures such as facial feminization or masculinization, brow lifts—declined by some employers and insurers as cosmetic—are a considered a matter of safety for some and a matter of “being you” for others. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health says such procedures are “much more medically necessary” for transgender patients than those without gender dysphoria.

Procedures being added to the Equitas Health employee plans include:

  • Breast augmentation
    • Certain types of electrolysis
    • Facial feminization or masculinization
    • Forehead contouring
    • Rhinoplasty
    • Mandible reconstruction
    • Trachea shave
    • Blepharoplasty
    • Brow lift
    • Cheek augmentation
    • Face lift or liposuction in conjunction with other procedures

Transgender-inclusive healthcare is increasingly seen as a requirement for employers to be considered LGBTQ-friendly. The Human Rights Campaign looks at coverage as part of its annual Corporate Equality Index of major U.S. employers, although it doesn’t specify what’s included under its standard of “medically necessary services related to sex affirmation.”

“As a nonprofit healthcare system we are proud to be leading on this front,” said Bill Hardy president and CEO of Equitas Health. “Health equity is a collective responsibility; we call on others to join us in providing transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage.”

Anderson said it’s an important issue for the company.

“We want transgender and gender-nonconforming folks to want to work here,” she said.

(For information about jobs at Equitas Health, click here.)

bobvitale@prizmnews.com

 

 

Bob Vitale
Bob Vitale is the editor of Prizm. A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, he has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Contact: BobVitale@prizmnews.com