The Utah Legislature has no business limiting care for transgender youth.

The Utah Legislature has no business limiting care for transgender youth.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Troy Williams of Equality Utah reacts to a statement by intern Ari Webb, which was read by Sen. Nate Blouin, D-Salt Lake City, as the Senate finalizes a bill Whose purpose is to crack. Down on doctors’ ability to prescribe hormone therapy for transgender minors at the Capitol Building on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, in Salt Lake City.

We are a group of interprofessional medical providers, recognized as national experts in our fields, serving patients throughout Utah. We are also, perhaps more importantly, parents who have to navigate the health care system when our children are in need of critical care.

Between all of us, our children receive critical and life-saving surgery, consultations with specialists such as pediatricians and neurosurgeons, evaluations for developmental disorders, work with social workers, speech and learning therapists, routine medical care, occupational therapy and prescribed Medicines are needed. especially children. We all recognize the immense privilege that we have access to excellent health care.

Working closely with our children’s health care providers and relying on their expertise in decision-making is critical to providing the best care for our children. With all of these counselors who have trained their entire careers to manage the health care needs of pediatric patients, it never occurred to us that we should think about consulting the Utah Legislature about their care.

All of us in Utah want our children to have access to the highest quality health care. The medical providers here are board-certified, having attended school and received additional training over the years. They participate in an additional 50 to 100 hours of training and continuing education each year. All other members of the health care team have advanced degrees and professional certifications and participate in hundreds of additional hours of continuing education throughout their careers. They are licensed by the state, overseen by state boards and permitted to practice by institutions that determine what they are allowed to do as far as medical practices and procedures go. They continually read, participate in research and follow practice guidelines that are informed by years of research, written by additional experts in their fields.

Medicine is dynamic, constantly improving and advancing and requires continued dedication and commitment to education in order to stay current.

Unfortunately, during this legislative session, there are several proposed measures to restrict Utahns’ access to the highest quality health care.

Gender-affirming care is just as life-saving and just as important as treatment for asthma, autism, heart conditions or type I diabetes. It is evidence-based, widely recommended care that has been developed to help people who are transgender, meaning those whose current gender identity (their sense of gender inside) does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. This care includes a variety of services including, but not always, medications, some surgeries, voice therapy, primary care, and mental health care.

In our community, this care is provided by medical experts who have devoted years of their lives to training in this field, and decisions to engage in care are not made lightly. Treatment decisions for minors are made in consultation with Utah families along with their health care teams. They are conservative, safe, and based on national and international guidelines that are supported by a wealth of research.

When the decision is made to provide treatment to an adolescent with gender dysphoria, it is done so because the entire team, including parents, believes that doing so will be in the best interest of the child.

It is impossible for our part-time legislature, which needs to address all the business of governing our state in one 45-day session, to stay abreast of all the updates and current practice guidelines in medicine. It is not within their scope, available time, training and education. Furthermore, with board certification, state regulations and licensing, and professional society guidance, legislative intervention is unnecessary and redundant.

We acknowledge that the legislators who proposed this legislation believe that what they are doing is protecting children from harm. But we, the medical providers who care for the transgender community in the great state of Utah, believe that this legislation is primarily going to cause tremendous harm.

Restricting access to services does not reduce the demand for these services. If anything, it drives demand and drives people to extremes. Transgender people are already marginalized and excluded, with profound difficulties accessing high-quality, evidence-based care. Please do not allow the Utah Legislature to create even more barriers to services and interfere with health care that should be trusted by working relationships between parents and their children’s health care providers.

joan rollsMPAS, MEHP, PA-C; Corey AgarwalMD; Erica SullivanMD, MS; Erica JohnstoneMD; norell walzerPA-C; nicole mihalopoulosMD, MPH; Isaac GoodwinMD; Jim HotlingMD, MS; Marissa EdelmanMD; Johanna GreenbergMPAS, PA-C; Abbey BentleyMSN, CPNP; Hayley McLaughlinRN, BSN; katherine hayesMD, FACOG; Sarah EibergMD; adam daleMD FAAP; Julia PivovarskyPa-c.


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