EDITOR’S NOTE: Kathy Pride is continuing her reporting on health issues that have been covered in the national news media as they relate to ICD-10.

Gender identity disorder (GID) is the formal diagnosis used by healthcare professionals to denote persons who experience significant gender dysphoria (GD). GD is defined by the DSM-V as a condition characterized by the distress that may accompany the incongruence between one’s experienced or expressed gender and one’s assigned gender determined at birth. Individuals with GD experience confusion associated with their biological gender during their childhood, adolescence, and/or adulthood. These individuals also demonstrate clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. 

In recent months, GD has been covered by the mainstream media, first with the highly publicized suicide of teenager Taylor Alesana and most recently the revelations of former track and field champion Bruce Jenner in his 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer. GD is characterized by the desire to have the anatomy of the opposite sex and the desire to be regarded by others as a member of the opposite sex. 

Most major insurance, including Medicare, cover gender reassignment surgery under very specific guidelines. Though there are many similarities in the medical policies for gender reassignment surgery among the various major insurance companies, if the provider you work for is providing this service, you will need to find the medical policy specific to your patient’s insurance. 

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