Mayo Clinic downgraded in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality survey

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic saw its score slide this year in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2019 Healthcare Equality Index over the health benefits it covers for transgender employees, according to the Post Bulletin.

The health system earned a perfect score of 100 in 2018, and this dipped down to 95 for this year's index. The five-point dip puts Mayo behind competitors like New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, according to the report.  

At issue is a new requirement in this year's index to "provide at least one health plan to all employees that affirmatively and explicitly covers medically necessary health services for transgender people, including gender transition-related treatment," the Post Bulletin reports. Mayo has offered staff health insurance that covers mental health, hormone therapy and major gender affirmation surgeries for the past five years. It does not cover other procedures like hair removal, facial reconstruction, lipofilling, body implants, voice therapy or vocal surgery, according to the report. 

A working group of diversity and clinical experts at Mayo advocated for the system to cover these benefits to meet the standard of care defined by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, but the executive committee that determines benefits decided against it. 

"One of the things that was brought forward," Sharonne Hayes, MD, director of diversity and inclusion at Mayo Clinic, told the Post Bulletin "[is that] these are considered cosmetic procedures that are not covered for me if I wanted one ... So there were concerns about how we would navigate that. Obviously other organizations have managed to navigate it, and we'd like to help Mayo navigate that as well."

Read the full story here


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