LGBTQ+ Veteran care
VA Salisbury health care employees receive training in clinical care that is responsive to the unique needs of LGBTQ+ Veterans. Our trained LGBTQ+ Veteran care coordinators are fully equipped to support the health, welfare, and dignity of you and your family.
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Care we provide at VA Salisbury
We promote the health, welfare, and dignity of Veterans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) or a related identity. We focus on ensuring a safe, welcoming, and affirmative environment when providing you with sensitive and high-quality health care services like:
- Mental health services, including psychosocial assessments for hormone therapy and gender confirming surgeries
- Creative arts therapies
- Hormone therapy
- Gender-affirming prosthetics
- HIV and STI testing, counseling, and care, including PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for Veterans at risk for HIV
- Other prevention, screening, wellness, and testing services
Policies and practices to know
The care coordinator can help you get started with care or with navigating any of these issues.
Visitation: A same-sex partner, family member, friend, or other individual can be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of the patient's stay.
Definition of family: "Family" may include individual(s) not legally related to the individual. Family members include spouses, domestic partners, different-sex and same-sex significant others.
Advance directives: Veterans may designate any person as a decision-maker for care if they won't be able to make these decisions themselves. This includes same-sex partners. Advance directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related.
Documentation in medical records: VA Salisbury maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and gender identity, just like any other private health information.
Changing name or sex in records: Your name in your medical record will reflect your legal name. The sex in your medical record should reflect your self-identified gender. You have the right to request that your name and sex are updated as appropriate. There are established procedures for changing your name and sex with the VA Privacy Officer.
VA Begins Action to Allow for Gender-Affirming Surgeries in VA Health Care Coverage
VA currently provides all medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender Veterans with the exception of gender-affirming surgical interventions, due to an exclusion in the VA medical benefits package. The LGBTQ+ Health Program is pleased to share that in the summer 2021, VA will be initiating the rulemaking process to modify the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to expand VA’s care to transgender Veterans to include gender-affirming surgery.
1. VA currently provides all medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender Veterans with the exception of gender-affirming surgical interventions, due to an exclusion in the VA medical benefits package.
2. Gender-affirming procedures have been proven effective at mitigating serious health conditions, including suicidality, substance abuse, and dysphoria.
3. Removing this exclusion would allow VA to provide transgender and gender diverse Veterans with coordinated, medically necessary, transition-related surgical procedures. In addition, revising the medical benefits package would enable a safe, coordinated continuum of care that is Veteran-centric and consistent with VA’s values of equity and respect for all Veterans.
4. The entire rulemaking process can take approximately two years and includes a period of public comment. This will allow VA to develop the framework to provide the full continuum of care in a way that is consistent with VA’s rigorous standards for quality health care.
5. During the rulemaking process, VA will continue to provide or pay for the services it currently offers, including corrective procedures after gender affirming surgeries a Veteran obtains outside VA, hormone therapy, and other gender affirming care.