By Kara Desiderio, Project HEALTH

On November 6th, 2012, the San Francisco Health Commission voted to remove transgender exclusions from Healthy San Francisco. They also voted in support of starting a new transgender health program at San Francisco General Hospital. What does this mean for transgender San Franciscans?

Healthy San Francisco (HSF) is a health coverage plan for uninsured residents of San Francisco. It does not cover all procedures, but it does cover many medically necessary services. Until now, HSF has excluded health care related to gender transition. The lifting of these exclusions means all surgeries that HSF already offers to other people will be available to transgender people.

So, for example, HSF already covers hysterectomies for non-transgender women who need them. Because of the removal of the trans exclusions, a trans man who needs a hysterectomy as part of his transition will be able to get that procedure covered. Right now, HSF covers hysterectomies, orchiectomies and mastectomies. In February 2013 after the policy is vetted by the hospital’s Executive Committee, those procedures will be available for a gender identity disorder diagnosis.

The San Francisco Health Commission also voted in support of the creation of a city-run transgender health program for San Francisco residents. The program is being developed by a coalition including transgender community members, Project HEALTH (Transgender Law Center and Lyon-Martin Health Services) and San Francisco’s Department of Public Health representatives. Scheduled to roll out in July 2013, this program will recruit experienced surgeons to offer an array of transition-related surgeries for transgender San Franciscans, both male-to-female and female-to-male. The program will be accessible to those that meet the eligibility requirements for Healthy San Francisco.

To learn if you are eligible for HSF, visit http://www.healthysanfrancisco.org/visitors/Who_Qualifies.aspx. Already enrolled in Healthy San Francisco and want to access these services? Make an appointment with your primary care provider at your assigned medical home. If you need to find out where your medical home is or want to switch your medical home, contact HSF support at (415) 615-4555.