Trans Health Task Force looks at best practices and challenges for providers across disciplines

  • Trans Health Task Force 2016

Last month Dane Menkin, CRNP and Elaine Dutton, LCSW of Mazzoni Center’s Trans Clinical Care team co-facilitated a Trans Health Task Force as part of the annual Philadelphia Trans Health Conference.  This was the second year Mazzoni has convened a task force for the purpose of reviewing and discussing best practices, standards of care, and shortcomings in the current systems that medical, behavioral and legal service providers must navigate in order to provide care to trans individuals. 

Menkin describes this year’s meeting as highly successful, and noted that it was especially helpful in encouraging “a high level of collaboration among people from different disciplines, who normally don’t talk to one another.” 

This year’s task force was specifically focused on providers who work with transgender identified youth and their families.  The behavioral health providers comprised many years of combined experience working with children and families. 

Menkin and Dutton helped launch Mazzoni's Pediatric and Adolescent Comprehensive Transgender Services program, also known as P.A.C.T.S., in 2014. The program involves a team approach with staff from multiple disciplines collaborating on patient and family care.  It is the only community-based program of its kind in Philadelphia.   

Menkin says this year's task force provided an opportunity to evaluate professionals in the mid-Atlantic region who provide care for transgender children, and the ways they are currently using guidelines to provide that care.  “Many of us are working outside of guidelines,” he explains, “and this kind of collaboration is critical in using progressive therapies.”

Among the outcomes of this year’s meeting was the creation of a regional network of providers who serve the same patient population currently but operate independently, in order to enhance coordination of care and services.  The task force also explored ways to obtain coverage in peer-to-peer insurance review for the coverage of costly medications used to delay puberty in transgender youth, which are currently used off-label. 

In the weeks since the group met, Menkin says, “I have already seen an increase in the approval of the puberty-delaying agents used. I am able to provide the necessary documentation for private insurers to cover these medications for trans and gender non-conforming children. These drug typically cost $3000-10,000, depending on the treatment, so this a HUGE gain.” 

He adds that the group was able to cover a lot of ground in one session, and looks forward to continuing their work for the improvement of pediatric trans care.  

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