Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the Transgender Health Program (THP)?

The OHSU Transgender Health Program is not a clinic but rather an umbrella program for the transgender health services at OHSU. The THP supports coordination and alignment of all clinical services, and is a resource to help anyone navigate transgender-related care.

The THP provides support throughout OHSU through workforce education, policy review and development, advocacy, and assistance for transgender employees, students, and volunteers.

How do I access the Transgender Health Program?

You can access our program by contacting us at or  503 494-7970. We can answer most questions by phone or email and are happy to schedule an in-person meeting for information and support.

Who can access the Transgender Health Program?

We are available for transgender and gender-diverse people of all ages as well as their family members, partners, friends, and other supports.We are also a resource for health care providers, health plans, and community and advocacy groups.

Where is the Transgender Health Program located?

Our office is located in Portland, but our information and consultation services are available to anyone by phone or email. In-person consultation takes place on the OHSU Marquam Hill or South Waterfront campus. Arrangements for consultation at any of OHSU's satellite programs can be arranged as needed.

What is the WPATH Standards of Care and does OHSU follow these guidelines?

WPATH is the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. It is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary, professional and educational organization devoted to transgender health whose mission is to promote evidence-based health care, education, research, advocacy, public policy and respect in transgender health. WPATH publishes the Standards of Care and Ethical Guidelines, which articulate a professional consensus about the treatment and management of gender dysphoria. OHSU providers and most insurance plans follow the guidelines set forth in the Standards of Care in the delivery of transition-related care.The Standards of Care are available at www.wpath.org.

Services

What transition services are provided under the Transgender Health Program umbrella?

See our Services page

What transition services are not available through the Transgender Health Program?

Readiness assessment for medical transition
Mental health counseling
Support groups
Vocal Surgery

How much do services cost with the Transgender Health Program?

There is no fee for information, referral, or consultation either by phone or in person.

Who provides Hormone Therapy?

OHSU has multiple providers in Family Medicine and Internal Medicine who can discuss options to begin or restart  hormone therapy. You can visit our Our Team page to see a list of participating providers within the Transgender Health Program.

For individuals under 18 years old, we recommend a referral from a primary care doctor or pediatrician to the Transgender Health Program at Doernbecher to schedule a consultation with Pediatric Endocrinology.

Surgery

What is the timeline for surgical consultation?

Depending on what type of service you are looking for, there can be significant variability. Due to few surgeons offering this type of specialized care, there is a high demand. We are continually striving to reduce wait times to access both consultation and surgery. For questions about estimated wait times for OHSU consultation you can contact us, or contact the practice where you are seeking your care directly.

Insurance

What kind of insurance is accepted?

OHSU accepts many types of insurance plans, including the Oregon Health Plan and many Medicare Plans. Some services require authorizations and referrals before you can receive services. Learn more about billing and insurance at OHSU.

Does the Oregon Health Plan cover gender transition?

As of January 1, 2015 the Oregon Health Plan introduced its transgender health benefit. Hormone therapies and some surgical services are covered under the plan.To learn more about the Oregon Health Plan and covered benefits please view these Frequently Asked Questions PDF documents created by Basic Rights Oregon:

For community providers delivering care
For community members receiving care

How do I know if my insurance plan covers gender transition?

Many plans will cover some transition-related services.  This information may be found in a member handbook or by calling the member services number listed on your health insurance card. Possible terminology may include Gender Identity Disorder, Gender Dysphoria, Sexual/Gender Reassignment or Transgender Health.

Based on the Oregon Equality act passed in 2007, discrimination based on gender identity is prohibited. Health insurers must cover medically necessary treatments related to gender dysphoria if those same treatments are covered for other conditions. For more information about Oregon Insurance coverage please read the fact sheet created by the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.

Therapists

How can I find a therapist to help me with a readiness assessment or letters to support my surgery?

For many, finding a therapist who is right for you is not only based on what insurance they take, but who feels right for you. There are multiple sites that list therapists with knowledge, experience, or competence in transgender care. 

The Transgender Health Program has not been able to vet providers listed on these sites and we recommend you ask questions to determine if the therapist feels like a good fit for you. An experienced therapist should be able to provide an evaluation (with or without supportive testing) in from one to six hours–or more if mutually desired. An effective counselor should be able to assist you in considering the implications of gender transition as you make life changing decisions. For this, a therapist must have adequate experience with the requirements, pitfalls, challenges, and questions you may likely face in a transition process. Ideally, counseling will be a safe, supportive and helpful process to have an optimal outcome from surgery.

Questions to ask your potential therapist:

  1. How many transgender patients do you have or have you seen through your practice?
  2. How long have you been working with transgender patients?
  3. What is your educational background and/or training that prepares you to work with a transgender patient?
  4. What is your philosophy about working with transgender clients?
  5. Have you worked with any clients through the course of surgical transition?
  6. Do you follow the WPATH Standards of Care?
  7. How long do you usually see patients before you would consider writing a letter to support medical or surgical transition?