BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Improve Healthcare for Women Veterans

Posted by sailorcindy on August 3, 2009

womenvetsOn July 14, I attended a Senate Committee of Veterans’ Affairs hearing about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services available to woman veterans. After hearing testimony from women veterans, I have to say, I was downright shocked.

Because women are officially “not allowed in combat,” the VA refuses to treat some women who are suffering from PTSD and other combat-related injuries – even though those women are under fire right beside their male counterparts. Two other women testified that they simply gave up trying to get care from the VA for their service-related injuries because the system was too difficult and confusing to navigate. All discussed how important it was to have someone on the “inside” to help the veterans get the care they needed.

If that sounds bad, what is even worse is the outdated VA hospitals that some women attend for care. Some of these hospitals do not even have clearly-marked restrooms for women, and the women’s restrooms lack female hygiene products or changing tables for infants. One woman said several of her friends have changed their babies’ diapers on the floor of the hospital; another friend was told by her doctor that it was “inappropriate” to bring her child to the VA hospital and next time she should get a babysitter or not show up at all.

I applaud the VA for making steps in the right direction toward offering care for women veterans, the fastest-growing demographic of veterans. But I think it is pretty clear that we have a long way to go before any woman veteran can rely on the VA health care system as her primary care provider.

Of course, the VA had representation at this hearing as well, and they patted themselves on the back for having a “Women Veterans Program Manager” at each VA hospital – only they later on said that these positions are potentially not fully-manned or being carried out as required. Furthermore, the VA said they were working on rebuilding and updating facilities and that each facility was supposed to be fully “meeting the needs of women veterans in 2012.” As one senator asked, “Why not 2009?”

Resources for women veterans:

Learn what BPW Foundation is doing to support women veterans.


One Response to “Improve Healthcare for Women Veterans”

  1. Resource for woman veterans – an online community where women can gather to anonymously address their issues and concerns

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