STATEMENT ADVOCATING FOR GENDER AFFIRMING CARE
The St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN) stands with transgender members of our community and advocates for access to gender-affirming care for both transgender children and adults in Missouri. IHN is committed to advancing health equity and overcoming health disparities across all underserved and under-represented populations, including the LGBTQI+ community, which likewise deserves full access to health care. IHN condemns all attempts to limit access to health care services and inhibit clinical care decisions that should be left to the people seeking care and their respective medical providers.
On April 13, 2023, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey issued an “emergency regulation” that would severely restrict access to age appropriate, medically necessary gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary Missourians. The Attorney General’s emergency regulations institute extreme restrictions that include requirements such as:
- Medically documented gender dysphoria for three years
- Receiving “full psychological or psychiatric assessment” consisting of at least 15 separate hourly sessions over the span of 18 months.
- Screening for social media addiction.
- Screening for autism.
- All mental health conditions are treated and resolved prior to gaining access to gender- affirming care.
Bailey claims that these emergency regulations were issued to protect children and falsely characterizes gender-affirming health care treatments as experimental, adding that the care has significant side effects. However, every major medical association, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Endocrine Society, supports gender-affirming care, and many of those treatments have been standard practice for more than a decade.
Multiple states have enacted similar bans on such care for minors in recent years. However, the Missouri Attorney General’s rules represent the first time a state has attempted to impose such restrictions on trans adults. Establishing new barriers to access for those seeking gender affirming care and will not only harm the health of individual patients, but also reinforces discrimination, stigma, and negative mental health outcomes for the transgender community. Furthermore, transgender youth of color are especially vulnerable due to the additional negative effects of systemic racism and marginalization.
Bailey’s regulations were scheduled to go into effect on April 27, 2023 and expire on February 6, 2024, however, St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo temporarily halted the rule just hours before, then on Monday, May 1, 2023, issued an order that will temporarily halt Bailey’s regulations for two weeks as she considers whether to block them for longer.
Any person affected by this rule on gender-affirming care is encouraged to contact:
- Legal Help Desk at Lambda Legal or the ACLU of Missouri for more information on their legal rights.
- Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG) for local services and resources available to transgender folks. MTUG maintains a list of inclusive therapists and medical providers.
- Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline at 314-380-7774 for emotional, identity-affirming support.
The St. Louis County Dept. of Public Health notes that gender affirming care is available in Illinois and may be accessed through a variety of providers. The St. Louis County Dept. of Public Health also advises that healthcare providers who have transgender patients should take the following actions before the Missouri Attorney General’s emergency regulations take effect:
- Contact transgender patients to provide referrals to out-of-state gender affirming care physicians.
- Provide immediate assistance to transgender patients requesting their medical records.
- Ensure transgender patients have the care they need, while they are still able to access it.
- Contact their medical licensing board for any needed clarification on the regulations.
As IHN continues to follow the progress of the Missouri Attorney General’s emergency regulations, we remain committed to our mission of advancing health equity, working to overcome disparities, and eliminating barriers to healthcare access across all demographics in the St. Louis regions, including the transgender community.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. Louis Integrated Health Network Announces New CEO Andwele M. Jolly, DPT, MBA, MHA
April 18, 2022 – ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN) is pleased to announce the selection of its new CEO, Andwele Jolly, DPT, MBA, MHA. After a national search, the board-appointed selection committee interviewed a competitive slate of regional healthcare leaders with Jolly ultimately chosen as the next leader by the IHN Board of Directors. Jolly comes to the IHN from Washington University School of Medicine where he served as the Executive Director of Business Affairs in the Department of Pathology & Immunology. He will begin his new role on June 20, 2022.
Board Chairman Robert Massie said, “The Board of Directors is excited to have Andwele serve in this role. He brings a multi-faceted history and skillset that includes clinical practice, healthcare leadership, and business acumen all underpinned by a strong commitment to community, equity and service. Andwele will lead the IHN in its mission-driven work to improve health equity by increasing access to high-quality, affordable healthcare for all St. Louis residents and we are looking forward to working with him.”
While serving in leadership roles at Washington University School of Medicine since 2012, Jolly served on boards for numerous nonprofit organizations whose work advances equity across the state, including Build Missouri Health, CareSTL Health, National Association of Health Services Executives, Missouri Foundation for Health, and the St. Louis Regional Health Commission. Jolly is also a proud alumnus of Washington University in St. Louis where he chairs the School of Medicine’s William Greenleaf Eliot Society, which raises funds to support scholarships, research, and service. In acknowledgment of his work in community, Jolly was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship, which is a lifelong engagement in a global network of change agents and experts who are committed to producing transformative and sustained impact in their communities.
“Although grateful for my time at the School of Medicine, I am excited to lead the St. Louis Integrated Health Network in their continued growth and success. Our region has made progress in improving the health status of our most vulnerable populations in St. Louis, and there is still much opportunity for improvement,” said Jolly. “I am eager to lead efforts in partnership with the Board of Directors, our members, healthcare partners, and the local community. I believe racial equity is crucial in every aspect of our community, and the heart of the IHN is to advance health and racial equity as culture and in practice.”
About the St. Louis IHN: The St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN) is a highly specialized health intermediary organization designed to leverage the common interests, resources, and expertise of its members to create unified community-wide solutions to the hardest, most costly and most deadly public health problems of our time. IHN is comprised of the leaders of the community health centers, hospital systems, academic medical schools, public health departments and other safety net institutions that come together as an independent entity through which they can collaborate across institutional boundaries to co-create and advance a common agenda focused on developing innovative solutions that improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare with an emphasis on the medically underserved with an equity lens.