Health Quarters is now offering gender-affirming hormone therapy services using the informed consent model. Regardless of gender identity or gender expression, HQ provides compassionate, non-judgmental medical care.
We believe that when a patient is fully informed about the risks, benefits, and what to expect with gender-affirming hormone therapy, a referral from a mental health professional is not required. With that said, many individuals can and do benefit from counseling services and we are happy to provide our patients with referrals to trans-affirming mental health services.
Our practitioners are trained in providing gender-inclusive care across the reproductive health spectrum in addition to hormone therapy management. Patients of all gender identities can access any of our services, including:
- Annual wellness exams;
- Reproductive cancer screenings (anal and cervical Pap smears, clinical breast exams) ;
- STD screenings;
- PrEP (Truvada) for HIV prevention;
- A wide variety of birth control options.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this service, you can Call to speak with one of our trained staff members.
Gender-affirming Hormone Therapy Services FAQ
What to expect with initial visit
At your initial visit, we’ll review your medical history with you, take your vital signs, go over the risks, benefits, and what to expect with gender-affirming hormone therapy, review the informed consent, and do some lab work. We also perform a brief physical exam; we do not perform a genital exam unless you request one.
To note: it’s recommended that trans women who have had gender affirming surgery (“bottom surgery”) have a pelvic exam yearly.
Preparing for first visit
If you’ve had a physical exam with your primary care doctor in the last year, bringing those records with you is very helpful but not required. Lab work results such as lipid profiles, liver profiles, and hormone levels as well as any prescriptions you currently take are particularly helpful.
What is gender-affirming hormone therapy?
Gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) is the use of hormone medication to change your secondary sexual characteristics from feminine to masculine, or masculine to feminine. For example, masculinizing therapy would lead to effects such as a deeper voice and more body hair, and feminizing therapy would lead to effects such as breast development and body fat redistribution in a female pattern – around the hips, buttocks, thighs, etc.
What do I need to transfer care from another clinic to HQ?
We accept patients who are choosing to transfer care to Health Quarters from their current gender-affirming hormone therapy provider. We ask that you bring information about your current hormone prescription to your first appointment, and if any additional medical records are needed we’ll discuss that with you before your appointment as well.
Will HQ providers write referrals to gender-affirming surgeons or other trans-friendly medical professionals?
Yes, we will be able to write referral letters for patients seeking gender-affirming surgery. We also have a network of trans-affirming primary care providers and mental health professionals that we can refer our patients to.
Will my provider be able to help me access things like name change or gender marker services?
Yes, we are able to provide our patients with name and gender marker change petition forms, as well as step by step instructions and any additional information. We have staff at all three sites who are able to notarize these forms for you at no cost.
How old do I have to be to get GAHT from HQ?
We provide gender-affirming hormone therapy services for patients 16 and over. 16 and 17 year old patients must have already started puberty and need signed parental consent.
How much does it cost?
Most insurances, including MassHealth, cover office visits, lab work and prescriptions for gender-affirming hormone therapy with just a copay. If you don’t have insurance, we offer sliding scale fees based on your income level and can talk with you more about those options over a phone call, text message, or at your initial appointment. Our goal is to accommodate all patients regardless of their ability to pay.
What if I have transportation issues?
Our Lawrence, Beverly and Haverhill offices are all accessible by the Commuter Rail and local bus routes, as well as the RIDE service provided by the MBTA.
After your initial appointment with us, we also offer follow up visits over telehealth where you can touch base with your provider through video chat and go to your local Quest location for follow-up lab work on your own schedule.
Do I need a referral from a therapist or my primary care doctor?
We do not ask patients for a letter from a therapist in order to begin hormone therapy with us because we believe that when a patient is fully informed about the risks, benefits, and what to expect with gender-affirming hormone therapy, a referral from a mental health professional isn't required.