"First Event" Focuses on Transgender Youth

Tufts Health Plan is proud to support the transgender community

With more than 1,000 attendees, the annual “First Event” conference is a must-do on the calendar for all gender-expansive people and those who support them. For the second year, Tufts Health Plan sponsored the event. The 2019 First Event from Jan. 30-Feb. 3 included education seminars, a job fair, community-building activities, medical screenings, a fashion show and a gala.

More than 20 Tufts Health Plan volunteers greeted guests and answered questions at the Tufts Health Plan table throughout the conference, now in its 39th year.

Dr. Jessica Rubinstein (she, her, hers), medical director for Tufts Health Plan, and John Dockrey, RN (he, him, his), of our care management team, shared the stage with physicians from Boston Children’s Hospital GeMS (Gender Management Service) program for a presentation called “Health Care for Transgender Youth and Adolescents.” The workshop was built on requests from last year’s participants to more specifically address covered services, documentation requirements and resources for members and their families, including the role of care managers.

The GeMS team helped attendees understand the medical procedures and processes, while the Tufts Health Plan team explained how to navigate the insurance side. “We were able to educate parents on everything from definitions of certain surgeries to forecasting possible challenges,” John said. “Most importantly, we helped them understand the resources that can be really valuable to our transgender members.”

An air of celebration

Christine Krikorian (they, them, theirs), project administrator for Tufts Health Plan, coordinated this year’s volunteers after attending for the first time in 2018. She said the environment was like that of other conferences with an air of celebration, where people can freely be themselves. “If you have any curiosity of how gender identity fits into the world, go to this conference,” they recommended. “There’s something for everyone and it’s very affirming.”

Tufts Health Plan supports the transgender community in a variety of ways:

  • Founding sponsor of the LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce
  • Glossary for Member Services to address transgender and non-binary member inquiries
  • Coverage of gender affirmation surgery; variable coverage for related procedures
  • Care management to guide members through pre- and post-operative periods
  • Specific training in LGBTQ cultural competency for all staff