Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Gender Pathways Program?
The Northwestern Medicine Gender Pathways Program provides high quality, affirming health care to transgender and non-binary people through the consideration of a person's holistic experience of their gender across the lifespan. We utilize a model of integrated health services to bring together a multidisciplinary team that addresses aspects of a person's medical, emotional, social, and legal transition. In addition, the Gender Pathways Program promotes education, research, and advocacy to advance the progress of gender affirming care.
How do I get an appointment in the Gender Pathways Program?
Getting an appointment with us is easy. Please call 312.926.3866. This is the number to the plastic surgery clinic, and you can ask to speak with one of our gender coordinators. They will help guide you through an appointment, either in our individual specialty clinics or in our multidisciplinary clinic (coming soon!), depending on your needs.
What services do you provide?
We aim to provide lifelong affirming care, including medical, surgical, and mental health services. We provide the full spectrum of gender affirming surgeries. Please see our services list for more details.
What is WPATH?
WPATH stands for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. Our program follows WPATH recommendations.
Do I need to bring my letters of readiness?
You do not need to have your letters of readiness before coming to your appointment. Our providers are happy to meet with you to discuss your goals and care without any referral letters. However, we cannot submit for insurance approval, initiate hormones, or schedule surgery without the letters. You can find guidance for what needs to included in the letters here.
Can you help me get a letter of readiness?
We do not currently offer this service. We are happy to speak with your mental health provider regarding the content of letters.
What insurance plans do you accept?
We accept managed care plans, Medicaid, and Medicare. However, every plan is different. We encourage you to call both your insurance carrier and Northwestern Medicine Financial Counseling at 312.926.6906 to discuss specific coverage.
Do you have an insurance navigation plan?
We will work with you through the appeals process.
Do you have self-pay packages?
Depending on the service, self-pay packages are available.
What is your policy regarding smoking?
Smoking significantly affects your body’s ability to heal after surgery. Some surgeons may not operate on active smokers.
Do you have a weight or body mass index (BMI) cutoff?
We do not have a formal cutoff. Every patient is assessed individually.
Do you offer hair removal?
We offer laser hair removal at a special rate for our transgender and non-binary patients. Please call 312.926.3866 to schedule a consultation. We do not offer electrolysis but can provide recommendations.
Do you have gender neutral bathrooms?
Several of our clinic spaces have single stall bathrooms open to any gender. There are gender neutral, single stall bathrooms on the 1st and 2nd floor of the Galter Pavilion. There are also gendered bathrooms around the hospital. Our patients are invited to use whichever bathroom most closely aligns with their gender identity.
Do you offer phone consultations?
We do not currently offer this service.
Why do you take pictures?
Clinical photographs are routinely taken for operative planning purposes. No photographs will be shared with other patients or in any other form without explicit permission. Photographs will also not include your face.
What if I live far away from Chicago?
We will do our best to coordinate multiple appointments in order to minimize travel to and from Chicago. For bottom surgery, we ask that our patients stay in Chicago for at least four weeks after their surgery.