USC Student Health will uphold equal protections for transgender and nonbinary patients, Chief Health Officer Sarah Van Orman affirmed in a statement Monday.
“Patient-centered care is the model we adhere to; working with each individual to provide access to the highest quality health care is absolutely our goal,” Van Orman wrote.
New federal law diminishes healthcare protections for transgender and nonbinary patients. On June 12, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), removing the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” from the list of protections against discrimination “on the basis of sex.”
“We’re going back to the plain meaning of those terms [male and female], which is based on biological sex,” said Roger Severino, director of the Office of Civil Rights at the HHS.
The revised law essentially removes safeguards for transgender and gender non-conforming persons in healthcare and health insurance coverage. Despite these changes, USC Student Health states it will continue to treat every patient with an equal level of care and support.
“All patients deserve to be treated with respect, sensitivity and understanding for their individual identity and context,” Van Orman said in the statement. “We recognize the devastating impacts of disparities among communities when it comes to access to health care.”
Van Orman stated that denying any individual access to healthcare contradicts the department's vision to achieve health equity within diverse populations.
The statement also advised affected students to check their insurance policies and verify they are still covered under the revised law. The USC Student Health Insurance Plan and Medi-Cal Managed Care plans will not be affected by the federal decision.