“Andre’s opinion”: Florida Medicaid agency paid thousands to a hate group leader to help ghostwrite their anti-trans policy; he copied nearly all of his sources from the hate group
Dr. Andre Van Mol is a leader of the SPLC-recognized hate group American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) as well as the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and is an elder at Bethel Church in Redding, California. This church and its “dead raising teams” have notably attempted to reanimate long-dead bodies via prayer. Van Mol has served as co-chair of ACPeds’ Committee on Adolescent Sexuality with past executive director Michelle Cretella, and was hired in April 2022 by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to assist in drafting reference material to justify the planned exclusion of transition care from Florida Medicaid coverage.
- The AHCA’s supposed evaluation of evidence was a sham: this outcome was predetermined. The plan to exclude care was even depicted by AHCA in a flowchart ending in “Care Effectively Banned”, admitted as evidence in the trial that began this week. One AHCA employee later called the agency’s anti-trans findings “a conclusion in search of an argument”.
- In May 2022, Van Mol emailed the AHCA a 55-page list of references and sources to support arguments against any gender-affirming medical care or social gender affirmation. Recently, the “conservative and religious” American College of Pediatricians’ public disclosure of the contents of their own Google Drive revealed a similar 129-page list of references from ACPeds attributed to Van Mol , dated January 2, 2022.
- Comparison of the sources and text included in the documents shows that Van Mol’s work for AHCA featured about 11 new sources that do not appear in the January document, while over 120 sources were included in both documents, often in the same ordered groups containing identical formatting and spelling errors. Other material included in the ACPeds disclosure indicates their members sought to use Van Mol’s original list as a shared resource within their organization.
- Later, Van Mol repeatedly texted AHCA assistant deputy secretary Jason Weida to ask for a copy of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ letter to the AHCA on the proposed exclusion, because “ACPeds and some others would like to have the link” for “press releases they are making”.
- Over a third of the May 2022 document for AHCA consists of material from the January 2022 ACPeds document. Van Mol later billed the AHCA at $350 an hour for this “master background document” and other work, totaling $6,125 in April and May 2022.
SUMMARY OF GD/TG LITERATURE
- The hate group American College of Pediatricians’ January 2, 2022 “Summary of GD/TG Literature” (“Opus”)
- Author: Andre Van Mol, MD
- Date: January 2, 2022 (“updated 01/02/22”)
- Source: American College of Pediatricians documents released May 2, 2023. File located in DDoSecrets “ACPeds” archive at /OPUS/Summary.GD_TG.VanMol.docx or view online
FLORIDA MEDICAID & G/TAT
- Anti-trans expert Andre Van Mol’s May 2022 internal guidance for Florida AHCA (“master background document”)
- Author: Andre Van Mol, MD
- Date: May 1, 2022 (“May 2022”)
- Source: Trial exhibits in Dekker et al. v. Weida et al., Pl. ex. 328A. Attached to May 1, 2022 email from Van Mol to AHCA’s Jason Weida, Andrew Sheeran and Devona Pickle (Pl. ex. 328)
Both of these documents are attributed to Andre Van Mol, co-chair of the American College of Pediatricians’ Committee on Adolescent Sexuality. Van Mol was referred to the Florida AHCA’s Jason Weida and Trey Collins by ACPeds’ past executive director Michelle Cretella on April 25, 2022 (Pl. ex. 279):
Dear Jason and Trey,
Due to two unforeseen family crises, I must decline serving as a consultant for the State of FL at this time. My well-credentialed and equally expert in GD colleague, Dr. Andre Van Mol, has agreed to take my place so I am introducing him to you in this email.
Dr. Van Mol is a practicing Family Medicine physician in CA. In addition to being published on matters of medical ethics and childhood GD, he is Chair of the Adolescent Sexuality Committee of the American College of Pediatricians and a spokesperson for the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. He will be an outstanding consultant for your team in terms of provision of and analysis of studies. He has catalogued the literature as long as I have.
On May 1, 2022, Van Mol emailed “FLORIDA MEDICAID & G:TAT.docx” (Pl. ex. 328A), a 55-page list of references and sources for anti-trans arguments, to AHCA’s Jason Weida, Devona Pickle, and chief litigation counsel Andrew T. Sheeran (subject: “Re: Florida Consulting [Priv/Confi/Atty WP]”). Later in April/May 2023, documents inadvertently self-disclosed by the American College of Pediatricians were found to include a 129-page file of references and sources for anti-trans arguments, attributed to Andre Van Mol and dated January 2, 2022. In the disclosures, the fringe “theistic” group also listed “threats” to their organization as “the LGBTQ lobbying body, as well as mainstream medicine, psychology, academia, media, corporate America and nominal Christians, churches and organizations”.
Upon examination, Van Mol’s May 2022 AHCA document appears to draw nearly all of its sources, and significant amounts of its text, from the January 2022 ACPeds document. These include matching formatting errors and inclusion of stray punctuation apparently from the January 2022 document. In multiple cases, several identical paragraphs are seemingly copied and pasted from the earlier internal ACPeds document to Van Mol’s later document for the AHCA.
The May 2022 document contains about 11 sources that were not present in the January document, including:
- Van Mol’s description of “international questioning of GAT/TAT for minors” features “And now Florida Dept. of Health Guidelines”, the FLDOH’s April 2022 press release against gender-affirming care for trans youth.
- Three articles from 2009, 2014 and 2016 on the effects of discrimination generally on overall health. The ordering of the sources 192–194 on page 35 of the May 2022 document, and matching misspelling of “analysitc”, suggest these were copied from sources xvii-xix on Van Mol’s April 7, 2023 CMDA blog post “HHS/SAMHSA Press Release on Sexual Minority Youth Affirmation is a Model of Ideology Over Evidence”.
- A 2015 Washington Post opinion piece on assisted suicide, “The dangerously contagious effect of assisted-suicide laws”.
- A 2016 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services National Coverage Analysis on “Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery”.
- The November 21, 2017 update of the UpToDate literature review “Suicidal behavior in children and adolescents: Epidemiology and risk factors”. The exact text of the citation (“Last updated 21 November 2017. Accessed 5 November 2018”) suggests this was copied by Van Mol from the references list in a December 19, 2018 article by ACPeds’ epidemiologist and detransitioner Hacsi Horvath on the anti-trans blog 4thWaveNow.
- A 2019 press release from the anti-trans group Binary Australia, formerly known as the anti-marriage-equality group Marriage Alliance, promoting the August 9, 2019 article “Warnings over surge in youth transgender cases” by Bernard Lane. Kirralie Smith, author of the press release, is a former member of the Australian homophobic and Islamophobic “Q Society”.
- A 2020 single case report of androgen receptor-positive liver cancer in a trans 17-year-old taking testosterone (Lin et al., 2020).
- About one page (pp. 48–49) of Van Mol’s remarks on Green et al. (2021); these appear to be a collection of his thoughts without any references.
- A January 19, 2022 reader comment, “Estrogen is associated with greater suicidality among transgender males, and puberty suppression is not associated with better mental health outcomes for either sex”, by Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine advisor and AHCA expert witness Michael Biggs on “Access to gender-affirming hormones during adolescence and mental health outcomes among transgender adults” (Turban et al., 2022). Van Mol appears to include almost a page and a half of quotes directly from Biggs’ comment at pages 50–52 of his May 2022 AHCA document.
The May 2022 document also contains over 120 sources that were already present in the January 2022 ACPeds document and do not appear to be new work by Van Mol. These include:
- About 10 paragraphs in a row quoted directly from a 2020 letter to the editor by six SEGM members, including SEGM president Roberto D’Angelo and AHCA’s unpaid consultant Ema Syrulnik (doc 117–14).
- A 2019 article on intersex by Van Mol for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations blog. In the earlier ACPeds document, Van Mol notes: “perhaps best to avoid citing the blog itself due to the publication source”.
- A 2018 article by Van Mol about “transing California foster children” on the Witherspoon Institute’s The Public Discourse.
- Van Mol’s 2018 letter to the editor against the Endocrine Society guidelines with three ACPeds members Michael K. Laidlaw, Quentin Van Meter and Paul W. Hruz who are currently serving as expert witnesses for the AHCA in Dekker v. Weida, as well as SEGM board member William J. Malone. This letter is cited eight times under different reference numbers.
- The overturned Bell v. Tavistock ruling against routine prescription of puberty blockers by NHS GIDS, cited three times. The appeal overturning the original ruling does not appear; Van Mol states “The ruling has been appealed” on page 12 of the May 2022 document, but does not inform the AHCA that this appeal was successful.
- An article against trans youth care by Michelle Cretella, Michael Laidlaw and AHCA expert witness G. Kevin Donovan, cited five times under different reference numbers.
- Quentin Van Meter’s 2019 article in ACPeds’ favored journal Issues in Law & Medicine.
- Two articles by ACPeds members in The New Atlantis, a non-peer-reviewed conservative journal that was founded by the Ethics and Public Policy Center and published by EPPC until 2018.
- A low-quality convenience sample survey by Littman (2018) baselessly asserting the existence of socially contagious “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”.
- Articles and blog posts from anti-trans outlets including the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, The Federalist, 4thWaveNow, and Transgender Trend.
- Two articles by SEGM grantee and GETA anti-trans guide coauthor Stephen B. Levine, also an expert witness for the AHCA in Dekker v. Weida.
- Articles and remarks by SEGM advisor Michael Biggs, an AHCA expert witness (doc 128–2), in the Archives of Sexual Behavior and comments sections.
- A comment in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by ACPeds past executive director Michelle Cretella and anti-gay conversion therapy provider Christopher Rosik; both have held leadership positions in the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality/Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity.
- Another article by Rosik in NARTH/ATCSI’s Journal of Human Sexuality describing bans on conversion therapy as “abuse of recent scientific research to advance policy agendas”.
- An article by Paul W. Hruz in the Catholic Medical Association journal The Linacre Quarterly.
- The book “Our Bodies Tell God’s Story” by Christopher West, a popularization of Pope John Paul II’s anti-gay, anti-trans “Theology of the Body” Van Mol quotes West: “Contrary to widespread secular insistence, a person’s gender is not a malleable social construct.”
We estimate that at least 7,800 words of the approximately 20,800-word May 2022 AHCA document (37.5%) were copied almost directly from the January 2, 2022 ACPeds document.
On May 21, 2022, Van Mol emailed AHCA’s Jason Weida “RE: Itemized charges for consulting”, billing the state of Florida $350/hour for 9 hours on “Research and drafting of master background document” and “Completion of master background document” (Pl. ex. 291). That master background document comprised a majority of his billed hours over this period:
Dear Mr. Weida,
Thank you and your team for the privilege of serving as a consultant on your Florida Medicaid policy project regarding payment of services related to gender dysphoria. Please find below a listing of hours spent on the project and why.
4/28/2022 3 hours Research and drafting of master background document
4/29/2022 4 hours Research and drafting of master background document
4/30/2022 2 hours Completion of master background document
5/06/2022 1 hour Teleconference with FL Medicaid Quality team
5/11/2022 2 hours Read and critique FL Medicaid proposed policy draft
5/12/2022 3 hours Read and critique FL Medicaid proposed policy draft
5/13/2022 1.5 hours Teleconference with FL Medicaid Quality team followed by research and provision of further data
5/17/2022 1 hours Read and edit final Medicaid policy draft
5/18/2022 10 min Final consultation via telephone with FL team member. No charge.
Total hours = 17.5 hours at $350 per hour
Total charges = $6,125.00
View our source-to-source comparison of the January and May 2022 documents (Zinnia Jones, May 10, 2023).
Further reading: Gender Analysis unofficial docket for Dekker et al. v. Weida et al. (case no. 4:22-cv-00325)
- Text message thread between Jason Weida and Van Mol, April 1, 2022 — January 27, 2023 (Pl. 290)
- 183–31, Pl. 328 – Exhibit 328 — Email communication between Van Mol and Weida and attachment
- 183–32, Pl. 328A – Exhibit 328A — Email communication between Van Mol and Weida and attachment
- 182–21, Pl. 284 – Jason Weida communication regarding articles provided to him by Dr. Van Mol 5/6/2022
- 182–22, Pl. 285 – Dr. Van Mol communication with Jason Weida and Matthew Brackett about gender affirming care 5/7/022
- May 2022 early draft GAPMS report with handwritten notes (Pl. 282)
- 182–30, Pl. 291 – Email between Dr. Van Mol and Jason Weida regarding reimbursement 5/21/2022
- 183–24, Pl. 321 – AHCA After the Fact Request form for Andre Van Mol 5/26/2022
- 183–3, Pl. 301 – Communication between Jason Weida and Dr. Van Mol about a witness for the July 8th hearing 6/14/2022
- 183–6, Pl. 304 – Communication between Dr. Van Mol and AHCA — 7/2/2022
- 184–14, Pl. 349 – Email communication between Weida Van Meter, Van Mol and Grossman
- Florida Medicaid Comment Summary for Rule 59G-1.050, F.A.C. and Responses, following the July 8, 2022 rule hearing (Pl. 326), with review and critique by Van Mol
- 183–10, Pl. 308 – Email communications with Jason Weida and Dr. Van Mol 7/14/2022
- Van Mol “on Alstott (so-called Yale) letter” for AHCA, July 19, 2022 (Pl. 348)
- 117–18 – July 20, 2022 email from Andre Van Mol to Jason Weida and Quentin Van Meter
- 183–14, Pl. 312 — Invoices from Dr. Van Mol 8/11/2022
- Declaration of Dr. Andre Van Mol in Dekker v. Weida, 27 Sep 2022
American College of Pediatricians hate group
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- ACPeds — Distributed Denial of Secrets
- The Texas Observer: How Monty Bennett and ACPeds Tried to Defund Genecis Clinic
- Wired: Doctors Behind Mifepristone Ban Called ‘Christians’ a Top Threat
Background on Florida 2022–2022 anti-trans policymaking
- ACPeds past president Quentin Van Meter: Florida’s anti-trans expert Dr. Quentin L. Van Meter was discredited on trans youth care in court, believes trans people are “delusional”, and promotes anti-gay conversion therapy
- Catholic Medical Association members in the AHCA rulemaking process: Catholic Medical Association members wrote a majority of Florida Medicaid’s anti-trans expert reports. Last year, CMA declared a faith-based commitment against approving of any transition care
- ACPeds members Andre Van Mol, Quentin Van Meter, Paul Hruz, and Michelle Cretella collaborating with the ADF: CMA against Florida: Catholic Medical Association members Hruz, Van Meter, and Lappert have worked with Alliance Defending Freedom since 2017 to develop a group of anti-trans expert witnesses
- ACPeds member Michael Laidlaw testifies in favor of trans youth care ban at Florida Board of Medicine: Rapid response: Live coverage of Florida Board of Medicine 28 October 2022 anti-trans rulemaking meeting
- Submissions to the Board of Medicine by SEGM, CMA and ACPeds members: Tracking organized anti-trans submissions to the Florida Board of Medicine October 28 meeting, which passed a ban on medical transition for trans youth
- Involvement of CMA and ACPeds members in the GAPMS expert reports
- Numerous individuals participating in the rulemaking process have a history of involvement with organizations advocating dangerous anti-gay conversion therapy, including ACPeds