Re-starting lower gender-affirming surgeries
As non-emergency surgeries across B.C. are starting to resume, the Gender Surgery Program BC is also scaling up activities here in the province. In the case of surgeries occurring at the Montreal Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) clinic, our public health office and the Montreal GRS clinic have gathered enough information to help patients and providers make the decision about whether it is right for them to go ahead with surgery at this time at Montreal GRS.
Based on the information gathered through the support and advice from B.C. and Quebec public health officials, effective immediately:
- Surgical dates that were cancelled during the Montreal GRS's closure (March 18, 2020 – June 1, 2020) are being rescheduled in chronological order of cancellation.
- MSP has confirmed funding is available for the surgical part of the patient stay.
- Trans Care BC has confirmed funding is available for the aftercare stay at L'Asclépiade convalescent home.
- Please note: due to the need for physical distancing at the aftercare facility, the number of spaces available at L'Asclépiade is temporarily limited. Patients undergoing vulvoplasty (vaginoplasty with no cavity) will not have the option of staying at L'Asclépiade at this time. We encourage patients seeking vulvoplasty to consider postponing their surgeries until space is available at L'Asclépiade for aftercare.
- If a patient decides to pursue vulvoplasty (vaginoplasty with no cavity) at this time, they will stay in hospital for 2 days and then be transferred to a hotel, arranged by Montreal GRS, for 4 days. During the post-operative days in hotel, patients will travel by taxi to/from the Montreal GRS Surgical Centre for nursing care. All costs for this portion of the patient stay cannot be covered by MSP nor Trans Care BC and will be out-of-pocket for the patient.
- Patient costs will be incurred if a patient develops COVID-19-like symptoms or becomes COVID-19 positive and needs to remain in quarantine in Montreal until cleared to come home to B.C. Costs may include, but are not limited to, additional accommodation and food, fees associated with flight changes, and transportation within Montreal.
Thank you for your patience during this period as we worked to confirm the necessary data and information that is allowing us to reopen this care pathway.
For additional information and support with your individual care path, please contact our Care Coordination Team at 1-866-999-1514 or email Transcareteam@phsa.ca to speak with one of our Health Navigators. Thank you.
Re-starting lower gender-affirming surgeries
As was the case before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Gender Surgery Program BC (BC-GSP) continues to scale up, B.C. patients still have the option of accessing Medical Services Plan (MSP)-covered lower-gender surgery outside of B.C., at the Montreal Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) Clinic. As you may already be aware, our partners at Montreal GRS reopened for vaginoplasty and metoidioplasty surgery as of today, June 1, 2020.
At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting Quebec as the province with the highest level of new COVID-19 cases per day in the country. With guidance from our public health partners, we have determined that it is not in the best interest of the safety of B.C. patients who would be having a significant surgical procedure such as vaginoplasty (and then having period of recovering from that procedure) to travel there at this time.
MSP and TCBC are unable to provide funding support for these out-of-province procedures until the safety of the overall process can be confirmed. We are working closely with clients who have been impacted, Montreal GRS, MSP and our public health office to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Quebec and be able to re-open this important care pathway to B.C. patients quickly, but safely. We hope to be able to provide an update in the coming weeks, as new safety data arrives.
We recognize the stress of delay for patients and will continue to strive to ensure that additional supports are in place for trans women as they await their opportunity to get the surgery they need. If you have any questions, our Care Coordination team can be reached at 1-866-999-1514 (toll-free) or via email, at Transcareteam@phsa.ca.
April 21, 2020
Gender Surgery Program BC Update
A message from Gender Surgery Program BC...
"As you all know, these are unprecedented times. The BC Minister of Health has announced that all non-emergency surgeries in BC be cancelled to redirect resources to the growing demands of the COVID-19. The Gender Surgery Program BC is putting all scheduled surgeries on hold as the operating rooms and their resources are being re-utilized to help sustain patients affected by COVID-19. We recognize that this is an incredibly difficult time and that there will be significant negative impacts on our trans, non-binary and gender diverse communities as a result of this situation.
We believe that gender-affirming surgery is an essential and life-saving service and we hope to get back to this important work soon. We are in a state of emergency and the health care system is doing what we can to keep you, your family, your loved ones safe.
We still have some limited availability for appointments via telehealth or phone and for urgent in-person appointments. Get in touch if you have an urgent or pressing matter. Our waitlist for gender-affirming lower surgery remain open and we are still accepting new referrals. It is expected that procedures and in-person appointments will resume when the situation has stabilized."
Visit GSPBC's website for their contact info:
Montreal GRS Update
GRS Montreal continues to post updates on their website, which can be found here: https://www.grsmontreal.com/
Trans Care BC will continue to provide relevant updates about access to all gender-affirming surgeries as they arise. If you have any questions, our Care Coordination team can be reached at 1-866-999-1514 (toll-free) or email Transcareteam@phsa.ca.
March 23, 2020
Continuing to Provide Surgical Readiness Assessments
- At this time, Trans Care BC is continuing to provide surgical readiness assessments through a virtual platform.
- Trans Care BC is asking that surgical readiness assessors please let us know if (and how) you are continuing doing assessments during the response to COVID-19. This will help our Care Coordination Team have updated information for clients. Please contact the Care Coordination Team at Transcareteam@phsa.ca or 1-866-999-1514.
Increase to Wait Times in the Future
- We will continue to accept referrals to the Central Waitlist for upper surgeries.
- Unfortunately, there will be increased wait times to access all non-emergency procedures now and once this pandemic response plan becomes inactive.
- It is expected that procedures will resume when the situation has stabilized and that, over time, wait lists will improve.
Support for Clients
- Trans Care BC Care Coordination Team if available 5 days a week for clients and service providers.
- The team can support clients to access resources to help during this difficult time.
- Our Care Coordination team can be reached at 1-866-999-1514 (toll-free) or email Transcareteam@phsa.ca.
Today, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and Health Minister recapped the situation across B.C. and highlighted the importance of paying attention to changing conditions.
The PHO issued a new order that personal service establishments, such as salons, spas, massage, and tattoo parlors, must close until further notice as they required direct contact.
Unfortunately, this means that funded medically-necessary hair removal services will also be suspended until further notice. We will continue to provide up-to-date information as it becomes available. Please feel free reach out to our care team should you require additional information or support at 1-866-999-1514 (toll-free) or email Transcareteam@phsa.ca.
For the most up to date information on COVID-19, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website at http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19 .
Announcement from GRS Montreal:
With the recommendations of the Government of Quebec to limit access to non-essential services to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus and following the latest directives from the Ministry of Health and Social Services regarding elective surgeries, it is with sadness that we must announce to you that the CMC Surgical Complex is forced to cease its surgical activities for an indefinite period. Any surgical intervention must therefore be postponed until the socio-sanitary instructions of the Government of Quebec allow us to resume our activities.
We understand that this can be difficult for you, but we care about your health and safety. The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is an unusual reality that can affect people physically and psychologically. In this context, you may experience reactions of stress, anxiety or depression. If so, we strongly encourage you to ask for help.
We are currently working on a plan that will allow us to resume our activities as soon as the measures are lifted and to minimize waiting times when activities resume.
Know that we will maintain some active services. It will therefore be possible for people who have had surgery to communicate with the postoperative clinic by leaving a message at 514 333-1572 or by writing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, however, that resources will be limited and that we will only respond to emergencies.
For any other information or question, we advise you to:
- consult the postoperative information documents provided during your convalescence;
consult your doctor if you experience a change in your medical condition. He can communicate with us at any time at 514-333-1572 ext. 200.
Contact your local emergency services if your situation requires immediate medical attention.
We are monitoring the situation closely and will contact you as soon as possible once the situation has returned to normal.
Yesterday, the BC Minister of Health announced that all non-emergency surgeries in BC will be cancelled in efforts to increase hospital support and capacity to meet the growing demands of COVID-19 cases. At this time the impact of this decision on gender-affirming surgeries is unknown, however we anticipate that most surgeries will be cancelled. The situation may differ from region to region. If you are scheduled for an upcoming surgery, please reach out to your surgeon's office for more information.
As of today (March 17, 2020), we understand that planned Montreal GRS surgeries are going forward but additional screening measures will be in place and only Canadian residents will receive surgery at this time. We also understand that the VCH Gender Surgery Program BC has cancelled all planned surgeries to free up hospital beds at Vancouver General Hospital.
Unfortunately, there will be increased wait
times to access all non-emergency procedures now and once this pandemic
response plan becomes inactive. It is expected that procedures will resume when the situation has stabilized and that, over time, wait lists will improve.
Responding to COVID-19 is a priority for our health care system. These difficult decisions were made as a precaution to protect people from unnecessary risk of exposure, to save health care resources and to ensure necessary resources are available for when people do have surgeries.
Trans Care BC will work with our partners in care to ensure that cancelled consults and surgeries are re-booked. We understand that this will be difficult news for many people waiting for gender-affirming care. We also understand how necessary access to these surgeries is for trans and gender diverse people and regret that there is not more we can do about this issue at this time. We will continue to provide up-to-date information as it becomes available. Please feel free reach out to our care team should you require additional information or support at 1-866-999-1514 (toll-free) or email Transcareteam@phsa.ca.
For the most up to date information on COVID-19, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website at http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19.