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California Trans Inclusive Care Act introduced

SB 923 helps ensure health providers who interact with transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI) patients provide inclusive care

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California Capitol Building (Blade file photo)

SACRAMENTO – Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 923, the TGI Inclusive Care Act. This legislation requires health providers and staff who interact with transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI) people to undergo cultural competency training to help them provide inclusive care.

These trainings must be facilitated by TGI-led organizations, and they must include the perspectives of TGI people. SB 923 also ensures that health plans’ online directories include a search feature to list providers who offer gender-affirming services. This legislation will help create a more inclusive and culturally competent healthcare system for TGI people across California. 

“It’s simple: transgender, gender non-comforming and intersex people deserve the same quality of healthcare that everyone else receives,” said Senator Wiener. “No one should go to a doctor’s appointment only to be misgendered, harassed, or even refused treatment. While many providers work hard to treat TGI people with respect, too many TGI patients aren’t treated appropriately. These traumatizing experiences keep people away from the doctor, and prevent them from receiving the care they need. The TGI Inclusive Health Care Act will ensure providers are trained and ready to give quality care to everyone, regardless of their gender identity.”

Healthcare discrimination and a lack of access to culturally competent care is a major problem that many TGI people regularly face. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that one-third of all transgender individuals who saw a healthcare professional in 2014 had at least one negative experience related to being transgender, with even higher rates for people of color and people with disabilities. These negative experiences include being refused treatment, verbally harassed, physically or sexually assaulted, or having to teach the provider about transgender people in order to receive appropriate care.

This is especially problematic given that TGI people, compared with the general population, suffer from more chronic health conditions. TGI people experience higher rates of health problems related to HIV/AIDS, substance use, mental illness, and sexual and physical violence, as well as a higher prevalence and earlier onset of disabilities that can also lead to longterm health issues. Sadly, 23% of transgender individuals reported that fear of discrimination caused them to postpone or not receive necessary medical care.

Every person deserves to receive quality, compassionate health care from understanding, informed, and respectful providers – providers who don’t make assumptions about their gender or sexuality, and who honor their bodily autonomy. TGI people already face so many obstacles outside of the healthcare system, including higher rates of violence, workplace discrimination, ostracization from families and religious communities, and housing discrimination. Going to the doctor should not mean facing additional discrimination or unnecessary hardship, Wiener’s office noted in a press statement.

TGI people should have access to positive healthcare experiences. This includes seeing providers who are able to give them the care they need in a non-judgmental and supportive environment, and being able to search for providers who provide gender-affirming services (gender-affirming services include but are not limited to: chest reconstruction, mastectomy, facial feminization surgery, hysterectomy, voice masculinization or feminization, hormone therapy related to gender dysphoria or intersex conditions, gender-affirming gynecological care, or voice therapy related to gender dysphoria or intersex conditions). Gender-affirming care is critically important health care, and anyone who needs it should be able to find and access it, the statement added.

Finally, SB 923 requires health plans to have an accessible search function that allows patients to easily find providers who offer gender-affirming care. While all health plans are required to cover gender-affirming care, it can be difficult for TGI patients to actually find providers who routinely offer this care. This is a major impediment to TGI people accessing the care they need. 

The TGI-Inclusive Care Act will help create a healthcare system that meets the needs of TGI people, and provide a more positive patient experience. 

“Transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex Californians to this day face significantly higher rates of chronic health conditions and other health problems, compared to the general population,” said Pau Crego, Acting Director for the SF Office of Transgender Initiatives. “This happens, in large part, because health care providers lack adequate education on our communities’ unique needs, and on how to respectfully interact with us as patients. This bill will help address this by educating providers on how to provide respectful and affirming care to TGI people, and in turn, will ensure TGI people feel safe accessing a medical establishment that has historically ignored and mistreated us.” 

“Many medical students and medical providers who provide specialty care such as podiatry, cardiovascular, gastroenterology, etc. have a predetermined opinion that they will never serve the transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex community due to their specialization,” Dannie Cesena, Transgender Health Equity Manager, CA LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network. “The assumption that TGI community members will not seek specialty care is dangerous. As human-beings, we deserve comprehensive and affirming medical care for all comorbidities that we may face, and this bill will ensure that all medical providers, regardless of their expertise, are properly trained to provide that access to care.”

“Improving Gender Affirming care needs to be prioritized for TGI people.  For far too long, the TGI community has been ignored and erased.  It’s time we start prioritizing and valuing the most marginalized and disproportionately impacted population in the state of California. According to the Transmasculine Health Justice: LA (TMHJ: LA) report, over 90% of participants delayed care, ‘Many participants said they lacked trust in health care providers, had anxiety related to bad experiences and were concerned about mistreatment due to transphobia…’” said Ezak Perez, Executive Director of Gender Justice LA.

Perez continued, “we need to start transforming health care institutions, addressing the multitude of barriers that TGI people face when trying to access quality health care.  Requiring health plans, contracted providers and staff to undergo TGI cultural humility training is a basic necessity.  Requiring provider directories to include and make searchable providers who offer gender affirming services would dramatically change health outcomes for the TGI community, followed by further prioritizing and implementing policies and practices to help improve the lives of TGI people, address health disparities and other social determinants.”

“It’s unconscionable that transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex Californians are being forced to postpone or not seek life-saving medical care because they fear harassment and discrimination in healthcare settings,” said Tami Martin, Legislative Director for Equality California. “Equality California is proud to co-sponsor this innovative legislation that will prioritize inclusive healthcare by requiring that health plans ensure contracted providers and staff undergo training regarding care for TGI people. It is the right thing to do to ensure access to quality, affirming healthcare for all LGBTQ+ people.” 

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California

Newsom & LGBTQ Caucus lift up California’s fight for equality 

Governor joins LGBTQ Caucus 20th anniversary Pride celebration, announces signature of AB 1741 to honor victims of transphobia

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Governor Newsom joins members of the LGBTQ Caucus at the Governor’s Mansion (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom today joined members of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus at the historic Governor’s Mansion for the Caucus’s 20th anniversary Pride celebration and to highlight California’s leadership on LGBTQ rights.

“In California, we fight for and celebrate our LGBTQ community’s right to live their lives out loud,” said Governor Newsom. “I’m proud to stand with our LGBTQ Caucus today and lift up their commitment to advancing equality, freedom and acceptance. As we push back on the forces of hate that seek to undo our progress, California will continue to lead the way to a better, fairer future for all.”

“I’m so proud to live in California where we understand the value of diversity and support and embrace everyone who lives here,” said First Partner Siebel Newsom. “We’re committed to supporting members of the LGBTQ community to live as their most authentic selves and will fight to safeguard the policies that protect those rights. Alongside the Governor and the LGBTQ Caucus, I encourage us all to continue to lead with California’s values of respect, equality, kindness, and acceptance because that’s the California Way and the best way forward.”

Governor and First Partner join members of the LGBTQ Caucus at the Governor’s Mansion for 20th anniversary Pride celebration
(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

Governor Newsom today announced that he has signed AB 1741 by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), an LGBTQ Caucus priority bill that designates November 20 as “Transgender Day of Remembrance” to honor those who have been killed as a result of transphobia. The Governor also signed AB 421 by Assemblymember Christopher M. Ward (D-San Diego), which makes technical changes to the procedures for changing gender and sex identifiers on official documents, such as a marriage certificate.

California was the first state in the country to officially form a caucus of openly-LBGTQ state legislators and continues to lead in advancing policies that create safer, more inclusive communities. Governor Newsom has signed a number of measures to advance these efforts, including AB 493 to develop a training program for educators to better support LGBTQ youth; SB 932, which ensures comprehensive data collection to understand how COVID-19 is impacting the LGBTQ community; AB 2218 to establish the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund to provide grants for programs focused on trans-inclusive health care; AB 1094 to collect data on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identify in cases of violent death to help inform prevention efforts; and SB 1255 to end the practice of insurance companies discriminating against individuals because of their HIV status.

In 2020, the Governor appointed Justice Martin Jenkins to serve as the first openly gay man on the California Supreme Court, and this year appointed Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Andi Mudryk, the first openly transgender person to serve on the state’s judicial bench. Shortly after taking office, the Governor launched a new initiative to pardon people who were prosecuted in California for being gay.

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California

EDD recovers $1.1 billion in Unemployment Insurance funds

Recovery follows EDD’s recent thwarting of 47,000 potentially fraudulent claims worth up to $560 million across California

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The California Employment Development Department HDQTRS (Screenshot/ KGO-TV San Francisco)

SACRAMENTO – In another major step toward continuing to investigate fraudsters and recover unemployment insurance funds, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) today announced it has recovered $1.1 billion in unemployment insurance funds.

The recovered funds were located on approximately 780,000 inactivated benefit cards. Most of the recovered funds will return to the federal government because the fraudulent claims are from the emergency federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which was the primary target of fraud nationwide.

“Fraudsters and criminal organizations ripped off California, along with every other state, during one of the worst crises in history – we’re taking aggressive action to return that money to the taxpayers,” said Governor Newsom.

In July 2021, California hired McGregor Scott as EDD Fraud Special Counsel. Scott aids the state’s work with law enforcement to combat fraud—including supporting state, federal, and local investigations and prosecutions. Working with EDD, he has leveraged his experience to deliver leads and evidence to aid prosecutions and strengthen ongoing investigations.

“We will continue working with law enforcement to put fraudsters behind bars and recover every stolen dollar that we can,” Scott stated.

Today’s billion-dollar recovery furthers the monumental efforts of EDD and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to investigate and prosecute criminals who defrauded federal emergency unemployment benefit programs. Within the past 15 months, ​​total investigations, prosecutions, and dollars seized in the counties reporting information to the state  include:

  • Total investigations – 1,525
  • Arrests – 467
  • Money seized – $3,474,448
  • Convictions – 162

Other actions California has taken to strengthen its fraud fighting include:

  • Stopping over $125 billion in attempted fraud by deploying a new identity verification system, ID.me, in 2020 and partnering with Thomson Reuters to help detect and prevent UI and PUA fraud.
  • Setting up the 1099-G call center to help victims of identity theft deal with any tax related questions—work that answered 24,000 calls. Fraud can be reported by selecting Form 1099G in Ask EDD or calling 1-866-401-2849.
  • Working with Bank of America to issue chip-enabled debit cards that enhance security and to strengthen fraud-prevention strategies.
  • Working with the California Office of Emergency Services Fraud Task Force on over a thousand active investigations, arrests, and prosecutions across California.
  • Creating law enforcement investigative guides and offering technical assistance to law enforcement partners who are working fraud investigation cases.
  • Setting up designated regional contacts for each division of the state and working with any agency that needs assistance with an unemployment insurance fraud case.
  • Continuing to issue consumer scam alerts throughout the pandemic that warn about cell phone and email phishing schemes designed to steal personal information.

EDD runs one of the nation’s largest public benefit systems. Over 20 million people filed over 60 million unemployment, disability insurance, and paid family leave claims over the past decade. EDD prepared, printed and mailed 45 million documents to customers through the most recent fiscal quarters. EDD was mailing nearly 600,000 documents a day during the height of the pandemic.

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California

Newsom proclaims Juneteenth day of observance

“This Juneteenth, I urge all Californians to reflect on the ongoing cause of freedom for Black Americans” – Gov. Gavin Newsom

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Juneteenth flag raised over the State Capitol in Sacramento (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today proclaimed June 18, 2022, as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day: A Day of Observance” in the State of California.

PROCLAMATION

America does not only celebrate our independence on July 4. On June 19 each year, we look back to this day in 1865, on which Union General Gordon Granger led troops into Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and the insidious institution of slavery. Thousands of enslaved people in Texas – among the last to learn of their independence – tasted hard-won freedom for the first time.

Over the next several decades, African-Americans who journeyed out of the South seeking better lives brought Juneteenth celebrations with them. The thousands who settled in California, especially in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, taught our state that America’s struggle for independence did not end in 1776 or 1865, but continues to this day.

This Juneteenth, I urge all Californians to reflect on the ongoing cause of freedom for Black Americans – remembering that, though General Granger’s announcement in 1865 called for “absolute equality,” that vision was, and remains, far from complete.

With the Juneteenth flag proudly raised over the State Capitol, let us celebrate how far we have come and take stock of how far we must go, and honor all those who have lived and died in pursuit of a more perfect union.

NOW THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim June 18, 2022, as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day: A Day of Observance.”

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 17th day of June 2022.

GAVIN NEWSOM
Governor of California

ATTEST:

SHIRLEY N. WEBER, Ph.D.
Secretary of State 

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