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New Federal Civil Rights Rules Protect Gender Transition

| Sep 26, 2016
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As of July 18, 2016, new regulations protecting patients against discrimination went into effect.  The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights published the Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities provision, which is known as Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 1557 expands existing policies that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex age and/or disability.  Any health program that receives federal money for services [Medicare Part A, Medicare C, Medicare D and Medicaid.]  Any hospital, clinic, program, medical practices that accept these Medicare programs MUST comply with this rule. 

New to Section 1557 is that this regulation addresses that transgender patients are included in the above protected class.  Effective January 1 2017, a health insurer or health plan that receives federal funding, cannot exclude all services related to gender transition.  They also cannot make coverage decisions denying a claim or imposing limitations or restrictions on any health service that results in discrimination against a transgender person.  This provision further justifies services for voice-related services to change their voices to that of their true gender.  

Health care providers must treat people consistently with their gender identity.  An example would be when a health care provider intentionally and persistently refuses to use a transgender person’s preferred name and gender appropriate pronoun markers would be considered  illegal sexual discrimination under this law. Medical providers that accept funds from the Federal government cannot discriminate or deny services against any person because they disapprove of their race, color, national origin age, sex or disability in addition to being transgendered.

Marc Mitnick, MS, CCC-SLP is a board certified and licensed Speech, Language and Voice Pathologist who specializes in transgender voice modification in Ft Lauderdale, FL.  You may contact him at: [email protected] or visit his website:  For a complementary consultation for voice modification therapy, call:  954-687-4631.

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Category: Legal, Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

Marc Mitnick, MS, CCC-SLP, Board certified and licensed Speech, Language and Voice Pathologist, Director, Your Speech Therapist, Inc.

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