BOSTON, May 17, 2023 - FOLX Health, a leading healthcare provider for the LGBTQIA+ community, is taking action to address the impact of Senate Bill 254 (SB 254) in Florida. SB 254 introduces restrictive requirements for gender-affirming care for both transgender youth and adults, including mandatory in-person visits with a doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) for adults.
FOLX recognizes the concerns surrounding access to essential gender-affirming care and is taking decisive steps to ensure uninterrupted services for their members, who currently receive care via telehealth, as well as the thousands of transgender Floridians who will lose access to care as a result of this bill. An estimated 80% of transgender people in Florida receive their gender-affirming care from Nurse Practitioners and will lose access under this bill. By adapting its operations to meet legal requirements, FOLX reaffirms its mission to provide comprehensive support and care to the LGBTQIA+ community.
"Gender-affirming care is life-saving healthcare, validated and supported by every major medical institution,” said FOLX’s Chief Clinical Officer Kate Steinle. “FOLX remains dedicated to doing everything we can to ensure seamless access to healthcare services for our community, even when faced with legislative challenges."
SB 254 was passed by the Florida legislature and was signed by Governor DeSantis today, May 17. While the timeline for implementation remains uncertain, FOLX is preparing for changes when the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine adopt emergency rules per the bill and is creating pathways to ensure continuous care in compliance with potential regulatory changes.
The following measures have been implemented by FOLX: continued refills for current members, access to same day telehealth appointments for Florida residents, expanding MD and DO coverage in the state and establishing in-person locations. Currently, FOLX remains able to provide their expert gender-affirming care via telehealth with a range of providers, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as they have been since 2020. The majority of FOLX members receive their prescriptions via mail and FOLX is ensuring all patients due for refills get them on time for as long as it continues to be legal. When the law goes into effect, FOLX MDs and DOs at in-person locations will need to begin seeing patients, and FOLX is planning for that now.
“Now more than ever, equal access to quality care should be available to all, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Joseph Knoll of SPEKTRUM Health, a nurse practitioner-ledpractioner-led, gender-affirming care clinic in Florida. “This is why FOLX is linking arms with SPEKTRUM Health, to provide continued access to Gender Affirming Treatment. By working together, we continue to preserve access for the members we serve, especially during a time when our community is being heavily impacted by the anti-GAT state legislation.”
FOLX remains steadfast in its commitment to provide life-saving gender-affirming care, support to the LGBTQIA+ community, and stands united with the Florida community to overcome obstacles and protect access to comprehensive and affirming healthcare.