March 29, 2010
Forum Will Support and Strengthen Growing Women Veterans’ Community
“This forum will continue our identification of how best to serve this growing population of Veterans through our quality health care, benefits for service-connected disabilities, mental health services, or supporting their community, said Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki. “We must constantly reevaluate and solicit input on our performance as measured against the needs of our women Veterans.” This forum will build on the momentum from 2008 quadrennial National Summit on Women’s Veterans’ Issues and expand the dialogue necessary to enhance VA’s benefits and services available to women Veterans. The one day forum will not only help VA learn more from women Veterans who depend on VA for care, but will also develop tool kits for strengthening women Veteran networks through work with local VA facilities.
VA has undertaken major initiatives to transform the department to meet the unique health care needs of women Veterans and provide the best quality care at every VA medical center. In addition, the agency is working to shorten the delays for claims processing, improve access to VA health services for minority and rural Veterans, end Veteran homelessness, and ease the transition back to civilian life.
Health care improvements include comprehensive primary care and specialized medical care at every VA medical center, enhanced mental health care specifically for women Veterans, staffing every VA medical center with a women Veterans program manager, a mini-residency on women’s health for primary care physicians, and a multi-faceted research program on women’s health.
The Department’s 2011 budget provides $217.6 million to meet the gender-specific health care needs of women Veterans, an increase of $18.6 million (or more than 9 percent) over the 2010 level.
VA’s 2011 budget proposal will enable the establishment of a peer call center and social networking site for women combat Veterans. This call center would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There are about 1.8 million women Veterans among the nation’s total of 23 million living Veterans. VA estimates women Veterans will comprise 10.5 percent of the Veteran population by 2020.
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