On Thursday, the Veterans Health Administration, the body responsible for overseeing medical and mental healthcare for U.S. military veterans, announced a directive that acknowledges the unique health care needs of transgender and intersex veterans. The directive establishes new policies to ensure that trans and intersex people are treated respectfully and without discrimination by health care providers.
The directive reads:
VA provides health care for transgender patients, including those who present at various points on their transition from one gender to the next. This applies to all Veterans who are enrolled in VA's health care system or who are otherwise eligible for VA care, including: those who have had sex reassignment surgery outside of VHA, those who might be considering such surgical intervention, and those who do not wish to undergo sex reassignment surgery, but self-identify as transgender.
Trans patients are now eligible to receive all medical benefits, which include a list of trans and intersex veterans' specific needs. These include hormonal therapy, mental health care, preoperative evaluation, and "medically necessary post-operative and long-term care following sex reassignment surgery."
The directive confirmed that sex reassignment surgery and "plastic reconstructive surgery for strictly cosmetic purposes" would still not be covered, under existing regulations from the Department of Veterans Affairs.