A bill to require doctors to receive training for providing inclusive care for transgender and intersexed Californians passed 8-2 in the Senate Health Committee earlier this week.
Senate Bill 923, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would specifically require a Medi-Cal managed care plan, a PACE organization, a health care service plan, or a health insurer to require all staff and contracted providers to complete evidence based trans-inclusive healthcare training for those identified as transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI). Should a complaint be filed and found to be valid, a refresher course we be imposed on the person who had the complaint filed against them.
SB 923 would also set up procedures to ensure that TGI healthcare training is set up, as well as put in sanctions to ensure compliance. Companies and providers would also have to include a list in-network providers who offer and have provided gender-affirming services.
The TGI inclusive care healthcare training system would be set up across the state no later than July 1, 2024.
Senator Wiener wrote the bill both to ensure that TGI Californians will receive adequate healthcare suited to more specialized needs, as well as combat against recent laws in Florida, Texas, and elsewhere. Specifically, SB 923 would be opposite Florida’s Parental Right in Education Bill that bans the teaching of sex education in lower grades, including discussions gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as Texas’ gender affirming care executive order that investigates some cases of transgender children receiving gender affirming care as child abuse.
“What’s happening in Texas and Florida is simply horrifying,” said Senator Wiener earlier this week. “We cannot let gender-affirming care and LGTBQ rights become a politicized issue, with LGTBQ kids caught in the crosshairs. SB 923 will ensure that California providers treat patients with the culturally competent and respectful care that they deserve. This legislation will set a new standard nationwide for what truly inclusive gender-affirming care looks like.”
8-2 passage in Health Committee
In a press release, Senator Wiener specifically cited a study in which 23% of transgender individuals reported that fear of discrimination caused them to postpone or not receive necessary medical care.
Opponents have noted that no lawmaker in California has even proposed such TGI healthcare limiting laws and that a more common sense solution would be adequate for ensuring proper healthcare.
“There really doesn’t need to be a state law about this,” said Ana Martin, a nurse in the Bay Area who often helps treat TGI individuals. “A much more simple solution would be to just include it in regular updates. The medical profession has non-stop updates as better forms of care are developed, new treatments are found, and all sorts of other things.”
“Rather than a statewide bill demanding this, just include it in ways to stay current, and for new doctors, just make it a part of training early on. They made something that could have easily, and quietly, been introduced and instead made it into something political.”
“And hey, doctors and nurses, we don’t care who you are. If you are transgender, we don’t care. We will just do everything in our power to make you well. And if that includes staying current on the needs of TGI people, we’ll do it. Me and other nurses have made the Nightingale Pledge. Doctors took the Hippocratic oath. We’ll treat and care for you no matter who you are.”
Despite opposition, the bill passed 8-2 in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday. It will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks. If passed, SB 923 would be the first law of its kind in the US.
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