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Contact: Anna Selle, [email protected]

Results indicate an increase in new gender-affirming care related visits, primarily through telehealth

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) recently released new research regarding patient volume across two periods — the six months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the first six months of the onset — for gender-affirming care related visits. 

Using data from the electronic health record including patient visit type, the research team at Planned Parenthood Great Plains analyzed information from across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The team compared records from October 2019-March 2020 and April-September 2020 to determine if there was significant change during the onset of the COVID-10 pandemic.

This emerging research conducted by PPGP President and CEO Brandon Hill, Ph.D., Vice President of Health Services Brie Anderson, and Research Associate and Interim Director of Education Li Lock, Ph.D., finds that during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients continued to seek out gender-affirming care at the same rate, and there was an increase in the proportion of new patients seeking gender-affirming care compared to the six months prior.

“There are several important takeaways from this research,” said Dr. Li Lock. “Initially we were seeking information about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on gender-affirming care in broad terms, but the findings of this study highlight several things: the resiliency of the trans community, even through a global pandemic; the potential for telehealth to expand access to gender-affirming care; and the crucial importance of things like insurance coverage and internet access to ensure that care is accessible.”

Many of the gender-affirming care related appointments scheduled during the time period of the research were completed via telehealth. 

“When we look at the number of new patients who saw us via telehealth care during the pandemic, we see a story about patient access unfolding,” said Dr. Brandon Hill. “Telehealth was a necessary transition for our team during the pandemic, but it also allowed more patients to see us who might have otherwise not been able to come into our health centers under pre-pandemic circumstances.” 

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Planned Parenthood Great Plains has been a leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care for nearly 85 years, serving women, men, and families in communities across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Each year, we provide care to nearly 30,000 people in our 10 health centers. We believe that every person deserves to have access to the resources and information they need in order to make decisions about their own health.