Governor Calls for Investigation of Prestigious Hospital After Conservative Commentator's Exposé of Pediatric Transgender Clinic


In the aftermath of a Tuesday exposé by conservative author and host Matt Walsh, Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee has called for an investigation of the Pediatric Transgender Clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Walsh’s report alleged that Vanderbilt “drugs, chemically castrates, and performs double mastectomies on minors,” quiets dissent among its physicians through threats and coercion, employs transgender activists to ensure staff compliance and does it all to exploit Obamacare insurance coverage mandates for profit, according to The Daily Wire.

The hospital, ranked No. 19 on US News & World Report’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll, responded with a statement that Walsh’s reports “misrepresent facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients.”

Videos obtained by Walsh and his team, posted to Twitter and linked in the Daily Wire story, show VUMC employees promoting the transgender procedures as a “big money maker,” and warning staff against “conscientious objection” to performing them, the report said.

In the first video released by Walsh, a woman identified as Dr. Shayne Sebold Taylor of VUMC Clinic for Transgender Health told her colleagues, “Starting on January 1st, 2017, according to the Affordable Care Act, insurance carriers are mandated to cover medical expenses for trans folks. Some of our VUMC financial folks in October of 2016, starting a couple of years ago, put down some costs of how much we think each patient would bring in.”

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In the video, the speaker rattled off the potential dollar figures for various procedures: Female-to-male “chest reconstruction” could bring in $40,000; vaginoplasty surgeries can generate well over $20,000, “And the female-to-male bottom surgeries — these are huge money makers,” she said; such procedures could bring in “up to $100,000” for the hospital.

The speaker in the video placed great emphasis on the potential financial gains for the hospital. “These surgeries are labor intensive, they require  a lot of follow-ups, they require a lot of our time, and  … they make money for the hospital,” Taylor said, according to The Daily Wire.

Some hospitals, she told her audience, are entirely supported by phalloplasty surgeries.

In another video, a speaker identified as Vanderbilt’s Ellen Wright Clayton, an expert on health law, explained to staffers that any “conscientious objection” to performing these surgeries due to “religious beliefs” would and should be met with “consequences.”

She added that if employees object to the procedures, they should probably seek employment elsewhere.

“If you are going to assert conscientious objection, you have to realize that that is problematic,” Clayton told Vanderbilt physicians, according to the report. “You are doing something to another person, and you are not paying the cost for your belief. I think that is a … real issue.”

“I just want you to take home that saying that you’re not going to do something because of your conscientious — because of your religious beliefs — is not without consequences, and should not be without consequences,” she added. “And I just want to put that out there.”

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“We are given an enormous — if you don’t want to do this kind of work, don’t work at Vanderbilt,” she said, with clear implications.

Walsh and his team also reported the hospital has a team of “trans buddies,” trans activists who attend appointments with patients, who operate with a mandate to protect transgender individuals from anyone they deem “unsafe” and ensure the hospital staff isn’t misgendering patients.

Lee told The Daily Wire in a statement, “The ‘pediatric transgender clinic’ at Vanderbilt University Medical Center raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns.

“We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain. We have to protect Tennessee children, and this warrants a thorough investigation,” he added.

Republican Rep. John Rose tweeted his support for an investigation of VUMC, he wrote, “What @MattWalshBlog discovered at Vanderbilt is horrific. Children are being permanently, physically altered for financial gain – it is inexcusable. I stand with @BillLeeTN in calling for an investigation.”

Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann wrote, “The news uncovered by @MattWalshBlog is incredibly disheartening and completely unacceptable. Tennessee children deserve better than what’s happening at VUMC, and I stand alongside Governor @BillLeeTN in demanding a thorough investigation.”

Craig Boerner, senior information officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, issued a statement to The Western Journal.

Boerner wrote, “Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is now the subject of social media posts and a video that misrepresent facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients. VUMC began its Transgender Health Clinic because transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health issues and have been consistently undeserved by the U.S. health system.”

The statement continued, “We have been and will continue to be committed to providing family-centered care to all adolescents in compliance with state law and in line with professional practice standards and guidance established by medical specialty societies. VUMC requires parental consent to treat a minor patient who is to be seen for issues related to transgender care and never refuses parental involvement in the care of transgender youth who are under age 18.”

“Our policies allow employees to decline to participate in care they find morally objectionable, and do not permit discrimination against employees who choose to do so.  This includes employees whose personal or religious beliefs do not support gender-affirming care for transgender persons,” Boerner argued, adding, “The Trans Buddy program mentioned in the video has received national acclaim. Its purpose is to provide peer volunteers who support persons who are seeking highly personal care in an unfamiliar environment, and who may have been refused medical services in the past or avoided seeking them out of fear of being met with hostility.”

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