Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I access hormones or a surgery referral?
In June of 2017 we stopped providing doctor care and HRT prescriptions at CWHWC. There were many reasons for this change and we are aware this is one of the most common requests people have when contacting us.
Trans Care BC is a provincial organization where peers work to connect trans and gender diverse folks with health care including hormones & surgery access. Please contact them if you are seeking HRT and unsure where to start. If you live in Vancouver, Richmond, North Shore, or Sunshine Coast, or are 24 and under anywhere in the province, Vancouver Coastal Health Trans Specialty Care Clinics can provide hormone replacement therapy and surgery referrals.
Our volunteer nurses, peers, or counselors are also happy to speak with you about accessing care and what your needs are.
Do you offer free services?
Yes! All of our practitioners are volunteering their time so that we can offer free services to people who need them, regardless of factors like immigration status, health insurance, or residential address.
In BC, basic health care is covered by BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). If you don’t have BC MSP (or other insurance), seeing one of our volunteers will still be free.
If you have MSP, all tests and referrals are covered. However, without MSP, additional tests or referrals to a specialist will likely not be free. There are a few exceptions such as sexual health screening tests.
Blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, and going to see a specialist are unfortunately things that we cannot arrange for free if you lack MSP coverage. We recognize that this can present a serious barrier to accessing needed healthcare and we will work with you to try to access low cost or free services wherever possible.
Do I need identification or documentation to access services?
No, we do not require any identification or documentation to access our services. If you do not have MSP coverage or choose not to share that information with us, it will not in any way affect the service we provide you.
Will my information be shared with anyone?
All your information is kept confidential at our clinic. It will never be shared with anyone else, including family and medical professionals, unless you specifically request it. For example, you might ask for a copy of a test to be sent to your family doctor. We do not share information with the Canadian Border Services Agency.
In emergency situations there may be some limits to confidentiality. Please discuss with your provider if you have questions about this.
How can I get financial coverage for medical services and medications?
If you are a resident of BC, you can apply for MSP coverage. Your coverage will not start until you have lived in BC for 3 months. BC MSP will cover the cost of all doctor’s visits and medically necessary tests.
Even with MSP, your medications may not be covered. Pharmacare is the government of BC program that covers medications. If you are on social assistance or disability, you will automatically get Pharmacare coverage which will pay for your medications. If you are not on social assistance or disability, you can apply to the Fair Pharmacare program. Under this program, the government will pay for a portion of your medication costs and you will pay a portion. The amount that the government pays depends on your income. This is a based on your income tax statements from the previous 2 years, so you will need to file your taxes before you can qualify for this program.
Some medications are not covered by Pharmacare. Other medications may be covered only under the Special Authority Program. This means your doctor has to make a special request to Pharmacare to have the medication covered.
If you have health insurance benefits through your job, you may be able to get your medications covered through those benefits.