Military Connection: VA Healthcare for Female Vets: By Debbie Gregory

woman-veteran-lgDue to the increased participation of women in the military, especially since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the VA has been hard pressed to meet the healthcare needs of female Veterans. Because of increased demand, the VA is restructuring the healthcare system to include benefits specifically for women.

While it has been estimated that nearly 400,000 female Veterans have utilized VA healthcare over the last 15 years, currently there are more than 200,000 women in uniform. With more women serving in deployable frontline roles, the number of women serving in the military is expected to get even higher.

The number of female Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare has more than doubled since 2000, making women the fastest growing demographic in the VA. And the population of female Veterans is expected to double again by 2025.

Due to this increase in women Veterans being treated at VA facilities, the VA is continuing to overhaul the availability of services for women. In the last five years, the VA has trained more than 2,000 additional primary healthcare providers for women. These doctorsadminister blood tests and mental health services, along with gynecological care and mammograms.

But advocates for women Veterans say that the VA system has yet to fully adapt to all of the healthcare needs specific to female Veterans. The sheer number of women in the military has brought an increased need for general healthcare services for women, as well as gender-specific care for an increasing number of serious, combat-related injuries among female Veterans.

Resources like prosthetic devices and braces for wounded Veterans have historically been made and stocked for males. Most VA facilities don’t have specialized braces **or** prosthesis that would fit most women. The VA has acknowledged this and other deficiencies, and is in the process of correcting them.

The staff at Military Connection honors all Veterans for their sacrifices and their service to our country. Veterans of all ages, genders, creeds and colors deserve the best healthcare that the VA can provide. We appreciate the gains that the VA has made in improving care for female Veterans, and expect to see even more improvements made in the future.

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Military Connection: VA Healthcare for Female Vets:   By Debbie Gregory