VA task force improves care for women vets

| August 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service 

WASHINGTON — A newly formed Veterans Affairs Task Force on Women Veterans will go a long way in addressing key benefit gaps to female veterans, according to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

While support for women veterans has improved, “it has not been enough,” Shinseki said during the 2011 National Training Summit on Women Veterans, here, July 16.

The task force’s “near-term mission,” he said, is to develop — in coordination with the VA’s Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, and in conjunction with the Defense Department — a comprehensive VA action plan that will focus on key issues facing women veterans and the specific actions needed to resolve them.

Those issues include obstetric and gynecological care, child care, military sexual trauma, homelessness, aging and end-of-life issues, among others, the secretary said.

A draft of the plan is due Jan. 1, 2012, and “will set our course for the next four years in everything we do, from planning to programming, to budgeting, to education and training,” he said.

The action plan will update and inform about the VA’s approach to women’s issues within its health care, benefits and cemetery administrations, as well as the Women’s Advisory Report to Congress, due next July, the secretary said.

“Other changes are in the pipeline, such as our pilot program to provide child care services,” he said.

Beginning this summer, Shinseki said, three new drop-in child care pilot programs for women veterans with VA appointments will open throughout the country.

Battlefield changes have increased the VA’s attention on women veterans, Shinseki said.

“Wars with no clear front lines put Soldiers — all Soldiers — at risk as never before, blurring the boundaries between combat and other than combat roles,” he said.

In recent years, the VA has developed women’s primary care programs at its health care facilities across the nation, and it has hired program managers and coordinators to manage care for women veterans, the secretary said.

The department also has accelerated its women’s health research in biomedical, clinical sciences, rehabilitation and health services, he said.

Most recently, Shinseki said, the VA launched a women veterans’ call-in center to directly solicit input into ways the department can improve its services.

“I want women veterans and women serving in uniform to see and know that VA is committed to fulfilling (their) needs,” he said.


Tags: , ,

Category: Army News Service, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *