Many of our patients and community members have expressed concerns about the new Florida state laws or statutes, and how they may affect access to medical care for immigrants, transgender and gender-diverse adults and minors.
We have compiled a list of some of the most common concerns and questions regarding the new laws and their impact on services at Care Resource.
It is important to note that Care Resource continues to welcome all individuals in our community, which includes immigrants, LGBTQ+, and transgender and gender-diverse people.
This means we offer confidential, affordable, and accessible healthcare services to everyone, regardless of immigration status, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, gender, religion, or ability to pay.
Protecting Your Privacy and Immigration Status:
Florida’s new immigration law (SB 1718) requires reporting of services provided to undocumented people who receive medical care in state-funded hospitals and emergency rooms (ER). As such, Care Resource, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), is not mandated to report, adopt new processes, or change our delivery of medical services under this law.
Can I become a patient of Care Resource regardless of my immigration status? Yes, immigration status does not prevent you from seeking primary medical care and other services from our health center. This new law DOES NOT impact Federally Qualified Health Centers, free clinics, primary care providers, or medical specialists. Only state-funded hospitals are affected.
Does Care Resource report immigration status to immigration authorities? No, our health center DOES NOT report client/patient identifying information or protected health information (PHI) such as name, address, health status, etc.
How is my personal health information (PHI) protected once I become a patient of Care Resource? As PHI, a patient’s health information and immigration status are protected by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA protects sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.
I’m an immigrant living with HIV and receiving Ryan White services at Care Resource. Will my care be affected under this new law? No, Ryan White Program services are not affected by this law and remain open to low-income and undocumented people living with HIV.
Will my immigration status affect my ability to receive emergency services at a local hospital? No, this new law DOES NOT allow hospitals to refuse care to anyone based on their immigration status.
If I go to the ER of a state-funded hospital, do I have to answer the question about my immigration status, and will my personal information be shared with the state? We strongly encourage you to continue seeking emergency services as in the past and as needed.
- State-funded hospitals or ER must ask patients if they are lawfully present in the United States. However, this new law DOES NOT require patients to answer the immigration status question to receive care. One may decline (refuse) to answer the “lawfully present” question.
- The report will NOT include the patient’s name and other identifiable information.
I have more questions about my specific situation and my eligibility for receiving services at Care Resource, who should I contact? Please contact our Social Services Department at 305-576-1234 ext. 107 (Broward) or ext. 454 (Miami-Dade).
Continuing Gender-Affirming Care For Adults And Minors:
Florida’s Senate Bill (SB 254) imposes new written consent procedures for gender-affirming care for adults and requires that all care be provided by an in-person physician. Additionally, the law prohibits gender-affirming care for anyone under the age of 18.
On June 6, 2023, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of Florida’s ban on healthcare for transgender minors and saying the ban is unconstitutional. Because the court ruled that Florida’s ban on healthcare for transgender minors is unconstitutional, the State may not enforce either the law or the Board of Medicine rules to bar transgender youth from receiving medically needed transition-related health care.
This means that healthcare providers throughout Florida may provide medically needed care to transgender youth while the case proceeds. The answers to the following questions may change based on the outcome of the case.
Can my child be seen by a Care Resource provider to discuss gender-affirming care and will they be able to access such care? Yes.
Does Care Resource continue to provide gender-affirming care to transgender adults? Yes, Care Resource continues to provide gender-affirming care to transgender adults through our physicians, and those services have to be provided in person.
Can transgender individuals with Medicaid insurance utilize their insurance to receive care and treatment at Care Resource? Yes
What if I can’t afford my medication or my insurance will not cover the medication prescribed by my physician? At Care Resource our case management and pharmacy team work diligently to provide solutions for everyone, no matter their insurance coverage (no insurance, underinsured, or medication is not covered) to find acceptable solutions to ensure all our patients receive the necessary medications they need for their treatment.
I have additional questions about my specific situation and my eligibility for receiving gender-affirming services at Care Resource, who should I contact? Please contact Care Resource’s Project sTrenGth program at 786-761-2756 or email email@example.com. The Project STrenGth program was created for transgender individuals to further bridge the gaps in accessing support and healthcare services in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Click here to learn more.