MU offers transgender health care not available many other places

1 year 7 months 2 weeks ago December 09, 2015 Dec 9, 2015 Wednesday, December 09 2015 Wednesday, December 09, 2015 10:51:00 AM CST in Continuous News
By: Laura Barczewski, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 28 percent of respondents experienced discrimination when trying to access health care.

The state report for Missouri in this survey showed 18 percent of respondents said they were refused medical care due to gender identity or expression.

Despite the discrimination in other places, students at the University of Missouri are able to access care if they choose to medically transition.

Dr. Susan Even, the Executive Director of the MU Student Health Center said, “Students that have a certain number of hours pay a health fee that covers visits to the student health center and any lab tests, prescriptions, and procedures are charged either to the student’s insurance or billed directly. There is also an insurance plan that the university works with called Aetna that is for students only that covers transition services fully.”

Shane Stinson, an MU alumnus, said his transition experience through the MU Student Health Center has been very positive.

“One of my friends put me in touch with the doctor at the Student Health Center, Dr. Susan Even and she has been absolutely wonderful. She definitely has not turned me away at all. She had been really understanding and tries very hard to give people the type of health care that they need,” Stinson said.   

Stinson also said transgender health care is not “clear cut” and there aren’t a lot of doctors who know how to start or monitor it.

“Here it’s great, but once you leave you’re kind of like 'I don’t know where to go next.' When you go outside of here it’s hard to get an appointment because there are very few doctors and when you finally get an appointment you’re not quite sure; there’s a difference between trans-friendly and trans-knowledgeable,” Stinson said.

Even said, “A variety of national organizations have risen to the occasion and challenged and charged their members to look at what is it going to take to provide the kinds of services that transgender persons need.”

She said she started learning about transgender health care because it was clear to her that students were not getting the help they needed.

“A lot of students I help take care of don’t have insurance so they wouldn’t be able to go see an endocrinologist (hormone doctor), they wouldn’t be able to go to a community provider that provides this kind of care. When we look at why we are here, it is to help students be successful and if you feel that you can’t really be yourself until you have gone through this process, it seems like it is important to help students with this while they are in the university setting where there’s more supports available to them.”

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