The abhorrent treatment of veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs has been very well documented, and while there have been some small improvements, there is still an incredibly long way to go.
One of the most glaring disparities between the “comprehensive medical benefits package” that the VA promises to all veterans and the reality of what they provide is seen with female veterans. The near dismissal of women in regards to medical treatment boarders on criminal, and it’s time the VA was pressured into helping out ALL veterans, not just men.
Men and women have different medical needs. From pregnancy, to mammograms, to basic OB-GYN check ups, many women’s needs are not provided with any regularity or accessibility. In 2014, 390,000 female veterans tried to use VA services, and the reality of their situation became staggeringly clear. 1 in 4 VA hospitals lack a full time gynecologist, and in the 920 clinics that work with the VA to provide health care in rural areas, 140 do not have a designated women’s health care provider. Since many VA clinics can’t provide mammograms, women are sent to other hospitals, often not receiving results in the 2 week window required from VA facilities. Women were also placed on the notorious VA wait list at a far higher average than men, and were more likely to be given medication and treatment that could cause birth defects than women who went to a private hospital.
There is no shortage of issues with the way the VA has handled veterans since its inception, including riots in the 1930s and 1970s, but its refusal to recognize the needs of female veterans, who make up around 15% of the veteran population today, is the most atrocious. We need to demand that women receive the health care they deserve after serving our country. Help protect our female veterans!