The Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine on Tuesday approved an emergency rule that will allow transgender children and adults to continue obtaining gender-affirming treatments under certain conditions.
Physicians will be able to renew orders for puberty blockers and hormone therapy so long as no changes are made to the prescriptions.
The state Board of Medicine on June 8 also approved the rule, which will allow continuation of treatment while the medical boards draft other regulations to carry out a new law that makes it harder for trans adults and children to obtain gender-affirming care.
The law, championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, prohibits doctors from ordering treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy for children but includes an exception for children already using the treatments.
The law also imposes new restrictions on adults seeking gender-affirming care by requiring that such treatment be ordered by physicians, not nurse practitioners.
Medical experts providing gender-affirming care to trans adults estimate that at least 80 percent of prescriptions for treatment such as estrogen and testosterone are ordered by advanced practice registered nurses, not doctors.
The new law also mandates that the medical boards create “informed consent” forms that patients must sign to receive the care.
Under the rule approved by the medical boards, doctors can renew prescriptions for transgender patients if the prescriptions do not change doses or types of treatment.
The rule will allow some patients to continue receiving care while the new informed consent requirements are being developed. Board of Osteopathic Medicine Chairwoman Tiffany Di Pietro said during Tuesday’s meeting that a joint committee of the two medical boards is scheduled to consider the informed-consent forms on Friday.
The full boards are slated to vote on the proposed forms on June 30. The law, which went into effect when DeSantis signed it on May 17, sparked uncertainty about the rules.
Samantha Cahen, program director for trans and nonbinary care for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, said in an interview last week with The News Service of Florida that the boards’ decision to allow doctors to renew prescriptions while the informed-consent regulation is under development provides “more clarity” to health-care providers.
“Since we didn’t want to provide care without consent, because that would be against the law, at least it’s allowing us to continue the care for our patients. Although we may not be able to alter the prescriptions, it gives us some type of leeway. At least it puts our patients back on track to providing care for them,” Cahen said.
On the same day Florida’s emergency rule was approved, a federal judge in Arkansas struck down the state’s law banning medical treatments for children and teens seeking gender-affirming care and transitions. The ruling in Arkansas is the very first of its kind to broadly block a trans care ban for an entire state.
While judges have intervened to delay similar laws from going into effect, Arkansas’ case has been regarded as a test of whether treatment bans and restrictions could withstand legal challenges. Transgender care and gender-affirming treatment bans and harsh restrictions have been enacted by 20 states across the U.S.
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