Bill to expand behavioral health care at OU Children’s could also restrict ‘lifesaving care’

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A $38 million proposal to expand behavioral health care at OU Children’s Hospital with pandemic-related federal funds has been on the table for months.

Now, the new wording of Bill 1007 would prevent OU Children’s from offering gender-affirming care.

American Rescue Plan Act funds would support 70 new behavioral health beds.

State Rep. Kevin West (R-Moore) will read the bill on the floor.

West said the new language comes after lawmakers met with OU Children’s and confirmed that certain surgeries and hormone treatments were taking place at their clinic.

“Once we realized that, we felt it was imperative that we try to do something about it, that we put an end to it, because these are children we are talking about,” the rep said. of the West State. .

West said the bill does not limit other types of mental health counseling.

Specific treatments restricted in the bill include interventions to suppress the development of endogenous secondary sex characteristics, interventions to align the patient’s appearance or physical body with the patient’s gender identity, and medical therapies and medical interventions used to treat gender dysphoria.

ARPA provides our state with a major opportunity to invest in and partner with projects that will have significant health benefits for Oklahomans,” OU Health said in a statement Tuesday. “The funding will modernize our technical infrastructure, bring cancer care to the level of the National Cancer Institute in northeast Oklahoma, and enable us to provide the nation’s most advanced hospital and outpatient resources for young people. who need mental and behavioral health care. The legislator has limited the use of funds for the benefit of establishments providing certain medical services of this type. The new mental and behavioral health facility was never designed to provide such care. The OU Health leadership team is proactively planning to shut down some gender medicine services at our facilities and that plan is already in the works.

As the state’s flagship academic health system, OU Health remains committed to providing excellent comprehensive medical care to all patients while following all conditions and federal laws and governing regulatory agencies.

We value our long-standing, collaborative relationship with the Legislative Assembly, and look forward to future efforts to advance our institution and our state.

“Care such as puberty blockers, for example, has been shown to reduce suicidal tendencies by up to 70% in transgender children. So we’re talking about life-saving care for people,” said Nicole McAfee, director of Freedom Oklahoma.

The bill should be read Thursday morning.

For more information about Freedom Oklahoma, you can find resources for gender-affirming care by clicking here.

Gender-affirming mental health support can be reached 24/7 at Trans Lifeline, The Trevor Project and during certain hours at the LGBT Helpline.

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386

National LGBT Hotline: 888-843-4564

It is our policy to provide resources to anyone considering self-harm when reporting a situation involving suicide or attempted suicide.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for people in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified auditor, call 1-800-273-8255.

The Crisis Line for Veterans and Military crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) connect veterans and service members in crisis, and their families and friends, to trained and caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, an online chat or an SMS.

Crisis text line is an SMS service for emotional crisis support. To speak to a qualified auditor, text HELLO to 741741. It’s free, available 24/7 and confidential.

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