Hospital Sues AG Over Probe Into Transgender Care Services
By Kelly Gooch of Becker's Hospital Review
Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., is suing Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey over his demand for records and testimony on gender-affirming care, The Kansas City Star reported.
The lawsuit, filed April 14 in Jackson County, asks a judge to deny Mr. Bailey's investigative demands, saying the requests are a "burdensome overreach" despite "no allegations of wrongdoing," according to the newspaper.
Mr. Bailey's office made the demand for records and testimony in a letter sent in late March. In February, his office had already confirmed an investigation by Missouri agencies into whistleblower allegations against the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital. The whistleblower raised allegations that individuals at the transgender center had harmed hundreds of children each year, including by using experimental drugs on them.
Now, Mr. Bailey's office is also looking at Children's Mercy and made more than 50 requests for documents and information in his office's March 24 investigative demand letter to the hospital. Requests include all instances when child abuse was reported to law enforcement and questions of whether Children's Mercy prescribes hormone blockers for, or performs surgery on, transgender individuals, according to The Kansas City Star.
Madeline Sieren, a spokesperson for Mr. Bailey's office, said in a statement shared with the newspaper that Children's Mercy "is refusing to provide even a single document to explain its practices."
"That is very concerning," she said, adding that Mr. Bailey's office looks forward to "prevailing in this request for information and learning what is truly going on."
Children's Mercy argues that Mr. Bailey is not authorized to investigate and enforce medical standards under the state's merchandising practices act, and that complying with his requests would require the hospital to violate state and federal laws, including HIPAA, according to NBC affiliate KSHB. The system also said in its suit that it has no connection to the Washington University center under investigation. Children's Mercy is not mentioned in the allegations against Washington University Transgender Center, according to KSHB.
The lawsuit filed April 14 comes after Mr. Bailey announced emergency rules targeting gender transition procedures for minors, which take effect April 27. The emergency regulations include prohibiting gender-affirming care unless patients have at least 15 sessions with a mental health provider and have experienced at least three consecutive years of a "medically documented, long-lasting, persistent and intense pattern of gender dysphoria."