VUmc negotiating with insurers over sex change operations

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VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (VUmc) received considerably more requests for gender surgery at the start of this year than in the first few weeks in 2013. Due to insufficient funding the hospital can not accommodate any new patients. Despite multiple negotiations with insurers the funding isn't nearly enough to help people who wish to undergo a sex change operation.

Patients who have already been on the waiting list or who's treatments have already started are not affected. The VUmc will continue negotiations with insurers to try and find a solution, according to a spokesperson for VUmc. The hospital provides about 85 percent of care for transgender patients. The remainder, 30 to 40 patients, receives care from the UMCG Groningen. UMCG Groningen is running into the same problem of a waiting list of 6 months and more patients turning to the hospital for care every year, according to UMCG plastic surgeon, Tim Middelberg. Middelberg thinks the increase in requests is due to a higher level of acceptance in society, and media attention. Also the conditions to qualify for treatment have been adjusted. In the past only complete sex change operations were approved, now partial treatments are also approved, such as when people choose to take hormones, but forego the breast-removal surgery, according to the plastic surgeon. Trans genders are people who are born male or female, but feel like they were born in the wrong body. The number of people wishing to undergo treatment has increased exponentially in the past few years with almost 200 percent.