Hahnemann to Offer Gender Affirmation Surgery

The program, under the direction of a Main Line plastic surgeon, will be the first of its kind in the region.

Photo from Hahnemann University Hospital's Facebook page

Photo from Hahnemann University Hospital’s Facebook page

Drexel University’s teaching hospital, Hahnemann University Hospital, has launched a new gender affirmation surgery program for transgender patients.

Hahnemann is the first academic medical center in the Philadelphia region to launch such a program, according to the institution. It will offer both female-to-male and male-to-female gender confirming surgeries. Patients will have access to face, breast, chest, body contouring, and other related surgeries.

The program will be directed by plastic surgeon Dr. Kathy L. Rumer, of the Ardmore-based private practice Rumer Cosmetics. Rumer’s practice already offers procedures for transgender patients, including facial feminization surgery, breast augmentation, and chest masculinization.

Hahnemann decided to start the program after the administration learned of Rumer’s wish to build an academic gender-reassignment surgical program with training and fellowship opportunities, according to the PBJ. Rumer had been performing surgery at a Delaware County hospital but wasn’t able to have a larger hospital-based program with training, education, counseling, and clinical care. And the program would be a way for Hahnemann CEO Michael P. Halter and Rumer to better serve the needs of the region’s LGBT community.

“We’re extremely proud to offer gender confirming surgery at Hahnemann University Hospital because it is in line with our focus on providing all patients with leading-edge, high-quality care,” Halter said in a statement.

Gender affirmation surgeries are becoming more widely available across the country, and insurance companies are adding coverage to help the more than 1 million Americans who identify as transgender, according to NBCNews. Providers have historically been insufficiently trained in how to treat transgender patients. Hahnemann’s decision to launch the program follows similar announcements from The Cleveland Clinic, Boston Medical Center, Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Baltimore’s John Hopkins, the first academic institution to begin offering the surgeries in 1965, controversially stopped offering them in 1979, but has said it will resume this year.

Hahnemann says patients interested in gender confirming surgery must meet certain requirements, depending on specific procedures, as specified by their insurance company or the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care.

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