Bill To Expand Behavioral Health Care At OU Children’s, Could Also Restrict ‘Life-Saving Care’


Wednesday, September 28th 2022, 6:36 pm



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A $38 million proposal to expand behavior healthcare at OU Children’s Hospital with federal pandemic related dollars has been on the table for months. 

Now, new language in House Bill 1007 would stop OU Children’s from offering some gender-affirming care.

Funds form the American Rescue Plan Act would fund 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 some surgeries and hormone treatments were happening at their clinic. 

“Once we became aware of that, we felt that it was imperative that we try to do something that we address that, that we put an end to that, because these are children that we’re talking about,” state Rep. West said. 

West said the bill doesn’t limit other types of mental health counseling. 

The 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 intervention used to treat gender dysphoria.

ARPA provides a major opportunity for our state to invest and partner in projects which will have significant health benefits for Oklahomans,” OU Health said in a statement Tuesday. “The funding will modernize our technical infrastructure, bring National Cancer Institute-level cancer care to northeast Oklahoma and allow us to deliver the most advanced inpatient and outpatient resources in the country for young people who need mental and behavioral health care. The Legislature restricted the use of the funds from benefitting facilities performing certain gender medicine services. The new mental and behavioral health facility was never intended to provide such care. The OU Health Senior Leadership team is proactively planning the ceasing of certain gender medicine services across our facilities and that plan is already under development.
As the state’s flagship academic health system, OU Health remains committed to providing excellent, comprehensive medical care to all patients while following all state and federal laws and regulatory governing bodies.  
We appreciate our long-standing, collaborative relationship with the Legislature, and we look forward to future efforts to move our institution and our state forward.  

“Care like puberty blockers for instance has been shown to have up to a 70% reduction in suicidality for transgender kids. so we’re talking about life-saving care for people,” said Nicole McAfee, Freedom Oklahoma Director. 

The bill is expected to be read Thursday morning. 

For more information on 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 certain hours at the LGBT Hotline. 

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386

LGBT National Hotline: 888-843-4564      

It is our policy to provide resources for anybody considering self-harm when reporting about a situation involving suicide or a suicide attempt. 

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

The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) connect veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.

Crisis Text Line is a texting service for emotional crisis support. To speak with a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.

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