Sat. Apr 1st, 2023
Judge orders Florida health agency to file gender-affirming care documents

A Florida judge orders the state’s Department of Health Care Administration (AHCA) to draft documents related to its decision that gender-affirming medicine is not covered by Medicaid because the treatment is “experimental and exploratory.” I ordered

By February 14, attorneys at AHCA, the agency that administers most of the state’s Medicaid programs, filed documents they previously claimed were protected under the Attorney-Client Privileges and Deliverables Privileges. need to do it.

They include a June review of the medical literature available that provides “insufficient evidence” that pubertal blockers, hormones, and gender reassignment surgery are safe and effective treatments for gender dysphoria. Includes interactions between agency personnel and “any person” involved in the preparation of an AHCA report.

The report is being used to ban an estimated 9,000 transgender Florida residents from using Medicaid to help pay for gender-affirming health care, and 11 interstate medical commissions Cited at a monthly meeting, a vote was taken to adopt rules to prevent minors in Florida. From access to gender-affirming treatments.

Gender-affirming health care for youth and adults is considered safe and medically necessary by most professional medical institutions.

In a six-page order issued Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle said the AHCA ruled out the agency’s June report on gender-affirming health care and treatment, among other documents. He said he would have to make a communication with the expert that was used to inform him of the subsequent rule. Medicaid.

Counsel for the agency said that the required documents were prepared for the purpose of rulemaking, but that they were also intended for use in litigation following adoption of the rules and were protected by law. says.

Hinkle said he disagreed.

“Even if this leaves room for appropriate circumstances to protect a document created for a dual purpose, it is not the primary purpose of aiding future litigation that is at issue here. The experts were an integral part of the mandated rulemaking process,” he wrote. This is part of an ongoing lawsuit challenging Florida’s Medicaid exclusion.

Hinkle continues: A defendant may be able to win a discovery battle simply by admitting that the rulemaking process is, or nearly, fatally flawed. ”

Court documents filed earlier this month suggested that the state’s rulemaking process was just such, with AHCA employees saying that a June report showed that sex-affirming health It claims that it “does not present an honest and accurate assessment” of medical evidence and practice guidelines relevant to care.

Hinkle’s order requires AHCA attorneys to provide revision logs of protected documents by February 2. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit — two transgender minors in their 20s and two transgender adults — file additional claims to enforce if they believe protected documents are “improperly withheld.” may submit.

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