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VA preparing itself for new services for women veterans

May 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, News

The Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to break out of its old-boy club image by expanding services for women veterans, officials said today.

The recent influx of women veterans – especially those of child-bearing age – has caused VA hospitals and clinics to reconsider the services offered to women, said Patricia Hayes, chief consultant for the Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group.

Hayes spoke during a news conference call. The event was the first of several VA officials plan to hold in the coming months.

Among the extended services is the ability for VA doctors to care for newborns up to seven days after they were born to a woman veteran.

The change came about as part of an act passed by Congress last year.

Before, women veterans could receive care for themselves through the VA, but newborn care was handled through other channels.

It’s part of a growing number of policies and changes for women vets in the VA system, Hayes said.

Also included in the changes is training in women’s health care needs for more than 800 doctors, nurses and other health care providers in the VA system, Hayes said.

She said the VA planned to train about 1,100 providers by the end of the year.

The VA also launched a campaign to notify women vets that there are services available to them at VA clinics, she said.

Many women who have served don’t necessarily realize they are eligible for these services, she said.

“We’ve changed the culture of the VA,” she said. “Women can’t just be an invisible, second thought.”

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