Intermountain Health Won’t Offer ‘Butt Surgery’ for Trans Patients Despite Hiring Expert Surgeons

KUER reports that Intermountain never offered such surgery, but that the hospital system appeared to have planned and accepted patients for such treatment before reversing the decision.

(Trent Nelson | Salt Lake Tribune) Saturday, October 16, 2021, Murray’s Intermountain Medical Center. Intermountain Medical Center reported that it told transgender patients seeking vaginoplasty that the chain of hospitals would not perform so-called “butt surgeries.” Reported by KUER.

Intermountain Health will no longer provide its care to transgender adults diagnosed with gender dysphoria after hiring a plastic surgeon with expertise in “hip surgery” as its new director of surgery for gender care.

In a letter obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, Intermountain’s vice president of business ethics and compliance, Suzanne Draper, said in April that the company was “providing phalloplasty, vaginoplasty, and lunar girdle surgery as part of its gender-affirmation care.” I never offered the technique,” he admitted. And in a statement given to the Tribune, it said the health system “has made no changes to the wide range of adult gender care services it provides to the community, including surgery.”

However, Intermountain had plans to hire Dr. Nicholas Kim to begin offering surgery to such patients. KUER reported Thursday that transgender patient Amber Chevrier was scheduled to have a vaginoplasty from Kim at Intermountain Health until she received a call in February to cancel the surgery.

Sue Robbins, a member of the Equality Utah Transgender Advisory Board, said Thursday that she had spoken to at least one patient with a similar experience.

In a statement, Intermountain said the surgery, known as hip surgery, was “offered in the community by other health care providers.” The statement did not say Kim was hired to perform such operations, but said, “Intermountain aims to hire the best and most skilled surgeons.” Some surgeons and health care providers have skills that cannot be leveraged in their current role. “

“Intermountain has always helped patients advance their gender care journey and remains committed to helping patients connect to the care they need,” the statement said. “Whether within Health or through community partners and referral resources.”

The news of Intermountain’s reversal comes after the Utah legislature passed a bill in January banning transgender children from accessing most gender-affirming care, including hormone therapy and surgery. Utah is one of 19 states to pass such legislation this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Business decision or discrimination?

Draper confirmed that Intermountain does not offer hip surgery to transgender patients in a letter in response to discrimination complaints by transgender employees. This comes in the wake of an apparent reversal in the hospital system expanding gender-affirming care to include hip surgery.

Employee Sylvia Mouton said in her complaint that Intermountain does not disclose its decisions regarding these procedures, and that the policy is discriminatory because non-gender dysphoric patients can undergo these procedures. claimed.

“[N]Allowing buttock surgery for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria, but allowing these surgeries in other circumstances (such as reconstruction after a severe accident or illness) is critical to those who suffer from gender dysphoria and these surgeries. will make a clear distinction between those who wish to There are other reasons,” Mouton wrote.

Draper told employees he found no “evidence of discrimination” in the company’s decision.

“Intermountain is dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ patients, especially transgender and gender-diverse patients,” she said. “The Intermountain Health Adult Gender Care Program currently offers and will continue to offer a wide range of gender-affirming services (medical and surgical).”

Mounton then filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights.

Where can I get gender-recognisable butt surgery?

In a statement, Intermountain said it connects patients with providers who perform these surgeries. Select Health, a nonprofit health insurer and subsidiary of Intermountain, added that it “facilitates medically appropriate care at other facilities when it is not available at network facilities.”

Still, it’s not clear which hospitals in the state will perform hip surgery.

Health care providers at the University of Utah do offer such surgeries, according to publicist Kylen Metzger. She did not answer the Tribune’s question about whether Intermountain’s policy had increased the number of patients seeking such treatment at University Health.

Robbins said the University of You Health is the state’s first hospital system to offer such surgery, and probably the only one in the state.

The Catholic-affiliated Holy Cross Hospital, recently renamed and acquired by Common Spirit Health from Steward Health Care, follows the “ethical and religious imperatives” of the Faith, so these and other gender-affirming surgeries are not permitted. not provided.

These directives prohibit the provision of services such as sterilization, in vitro fertilization, gender reassignment surgery, and physician-assisted suicide.

In March, the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference released the following document: “Catholic medical services must not perform interventions, surgical or chemical, aimed at transforming the sexual characteristics of the human body into those of the opposite sex or altering sexual characteristics. ” Participate in the development of such procedures. “

“All appropriate resources must be used to alleviate the suffering of those suffering from gender inequality, but the means used must respect the fundamental order of the human body,” the statement said. It is stated.

Another Utah hospital system, Mountain Star Healthcare, did not immediately respond to the Tribune’s request for comment on Thursday.

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