[HEALTH.MIL] VA Task Force Improves Care Of Women Vets

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  • Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 10:40:23 -0500

Shinseki: VA Task Force Improves Care Of Women Vets
July 20, 2011
By Karen Parrish, American Forces Press Service

 WASHINGTON, July 20, 2011 -- The newly formed VA Task Force on Women Veterans
will go a long way in addressing key benefits gaps to female veterans, according
to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.
While support for women veterans has improved, "it has not been enough,"
Shinseki said during the 2011 National Training Summit on Women Veterans held
here on July 16, 2011.
The task force's "near-term mission," he said, is to develop -- in coordination
with 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, childcare, military
sexual trauma, homelessness, aging and end-of-life issues, among others, the
secretary said.
A draft of the plan is due to Shinseki on 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 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 in Northport, N.Y.,
Buffalo, N.Y., and Tacoma, Wash.
Battlefield changes, such as increasingly blurred front lines, has increased
VA's attention on women veterans, Shinseki said.
Last month, a 20-year-old Army military policewoman, Spc. Devin Snyder, became
the 28th female servicemember to die in Afghanistan when her convoy was attacked
on a highway in eastern Laghman province, 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, VA has developed women's primary care programs at their health
care facilities across the nation, and 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. 

SOURCE:  American Forces Press Service article via Army Stand-To! Newsletter, 20
July 2011, http://www.army.mil/standto/archive/

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