A Philadelphia children’s hospital cited “potential revenue” as a reason for hiring a gender clinic social worker in 2018, Pennsylvania mother and activist Megan Brock told The Daily Signal.
Emails, which Brock obtained, show correspondence between former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine and Dr. Rollyn M. Ornstein, an adolescent medicine specialist at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. In the emails, Levine and Ornstein discuss financial incentives for the hospital’s Gender Health Clinic.
“I am trying to convince the administration about the need for a MSW [Medical Social Worker] position specific for the imminent Gender clinic, I am trying to put together a presentation re: potential revenue, including downstream,” Ornstein’s email reads.
Penn State Health launched a Pediatric Gender Clinic in 2019. The clinic hired Amy K. Keisling, a licensed social worker, to be the coordinator of the clinic.
The Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania similarly hired Katelyn Regan, a licensed clinical social worker whose job involves fighting with insurance companies who won’t pay for so-called gender reassignment procedures.
“Katelyn works to compile letters of support and to help families through the initial stages of planning surgery,” states the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Gender and Sexuality Development Program annual update, obtained by The Daily Signal. “They[Katelyn] also support families when a patient’s surgery has been denied to better understand the insurance policy’s reasons for denying the claim and to explore whether there is an opportunity to appeal the denial.”
The Penn State clinic provides so-called puberty blockers, permanent hormone therapy, and surgical referrals to young people up to the age of 25. Ornstein said in an email that though a limited number of patients under 18 may choose to undergo a surgery, the minors will eventually come of age, leading Ornstein to believe a gender clinic social worker is still “worthwhile.”
“You should be able to fund a MSW for evaluation and therapy for pediatric and adolescent patients in a program such as you do for the ED[Eating Disorder] program and is done at CHOP [the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia],” Ornstein wrote. “Pre surgical consult for patients under 18 will most likely be limited to FTM[Female-to-Male] Top surgery and that might be a rather limited group of patients.”
In 2021, CHOP’s Gender and Sexuality Program provided its services to 800 new families. In past years, they have added around 350 families.
“Financials are obviously a part of health care and a big part of gender clinics’ expansion,” Brock told The Daily Signal. “In those emails, they say, ‘Hey, you know, you’re not gonna get a lot of revenue for surgical referrals under 18, but then those people are going to be over 18 and Penn State clinic actually serves people up to age 25.’”
Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to accurately state the positions of Amy Keisling and Katelyn Regan.
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