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Staff of The Skanner News
Published: 17 December 2012

Transgender employees of Oregon Health & Science University will soon be able to access gender transition medical care. The hospital made the decision after reviewing its health benefits and discussing the issue with transgender advocates,

Portland's largest employer will join several other Oregon organizations that provide this including the City of Portland, Multnomah County, Intel 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.

"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.

"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."

Several other companies also offer gender transition coverage, including: Bank of America, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Ford, Google, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Pepsi, Sears, State Farm, Walt Disney and Yahoo.

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