Tester, Boozman Intensify Call for Better VA Care for Women Veterans
Senators Urge VA to Take Action to Improve Culture, Services for Women
(U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) are pushing the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) to immediately take steps to improve the quality of VA care for women veterans.
Following VA Secretary Robert Wilkie's September presentation of the "State of the VA" to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee that showed that strides must still be made to improve services for women veterans, Tester and Boozman are urging VA Secretary Wilkie to implement low-cost and common sense reforms from their bipartisan Deborah Sampson Act.
"As you note, the number of women veterans using VA health care services has tripled since 2000, yet 52 percent of women veterans surveyed believe they are not entitled to, or eligible for, VA care," the Senators wrote to Wilkie. "This disconnect clearly necessitates a more aggressive outreach campaign, targeted at women veterans, with the goal of better connecting them with access to what can often be life-saving services."
Tester and Boozman are urging Wilkie to implement reforms from their Deborah Sampson Act such as expanding the Women Veterans Call Center to include text message access to counselors and VA staff, partnering with community organizations on a pro-bono basis to help women veterans with legal issues that are contributing to their homelessness, and expanding women veteran mini residency programs while the VA works to hire more dedicated women veteran clinical providers. They are also urging the Department to begin to track women veterans' utilization and experiences at the VA to learn from current shortcomings and to fully staff and put in place strong leadership at the Center for Women Veterans.
Tester and Boozman's letter to Wilkie can be read online HERE.