For Immediate Release
October 30, 2014 Ministry of Health
Vancouver Coastal Health
Provincial Health Services Authority
Programs and services for transgender community to be strengthened
VANCOUVER – The Ministry of Health, Provincial Health Services Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health are working together to ensure members of the transgender community have access to a new provincial program that will offer expanded and sustainable services.
“We are committed to supporting transgender people and recognize that we can improve access and delivery of these important health services,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “That is why beginning April 2015, the Provincial Health Services Authority will assume responsibility for provincial co-ordination of transgender services in B.C. and will look to expand capacity for these services in consultation with clinical experts and stakeholders from the transgender community.”
Beginning immediately, Vancouver Coastal Health has committed to continuing the funding for the assessment program until the end of the current fiscal year, March 31, 2015. In order for an individual to undergo gender reassignment surgery, they must first complete a medical and psychological assessment to confirm diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
“Vancouver Coastal Health has a long history of supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community through numerous programs and services,” said Mary Ackenhusen, VCH president and CEO. “This funding will sustain timely physician coverage for the assessment of gender reassignment surgery candidates throughout B.C.”
Beginning in April 2015, the Provincial Health Services Authority will assume responsibility for the provincial co-ordination of transgender services in B.C. and look to expand capacity for these services over the next year.
“The Provincial Health Services Authority develops and oversees the delivery of specialty and provincewide health-care services across B.C.,” said Arden Krystal, chief operating officer, PHSA. “Working closely with our partners at the ministry and Vancouver Coastal Health, the focus for this review will be on how we can improve the network of services, including improving access to care for those people who require transgender surgery, based on best practice.”
In preparation for this transition, the Provincial Health Services Authority is establishing an expert advisory committee, to review current services and supports, and provide short- and long-term strategies to meet the needs of this population.
Current clinical experts will be asked to participate in the committee, which will also involve stakeholders from the transgender community.
Gender Reassignment Services (GRS) are publicly funded in British Columbia for patients with gender dysphoria through the Medical Services Plan (MSP). Since 2008, the ministry has approved over 500 procedures