Thursday, July 07, 2011

VA Creates Women Veterans Call Center

Major Outreach Effort Launched

WASHINGTON (July 07, 2011) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has
embarked on a major initiative to reach out to women Veterans in order
to solicit their input on ways to enhance the health care services VA
provides to women Veterans.

"We are taking a proactive approach to enhancing VA health care for
women Veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
"We are seeking the input of women Veterans so that VA can continue to
provide high quality health care to the growing numbers of women

Representatives at VA's Health Resource Center (HRC) are placing calls
to women Veterans nationwide, asking them to share their experiences
with VA and suggest potential enhancements that will further VA's
mission to provide the best care anywhere.

Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the Veteran
population. Of the 22.7 million living Veterans, more than 1.8 million
are women. They comprise nearly 8 percent of the total Veteran
population and 6 percent of all Veterans who use VA health care

VA estimates by 2020 women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the
Veteran population and 9.5 percent of VA patients. The HRC, which
started placing calls on June 1, is contacting women Veterans who have
enrolled, but have not begun using VA services.

"Through this contact center, we are placing friendly, conversational
calls to women Veterans," said Patricia Hayes, chief consultant of the
VA's Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group. "We want these
Veterans and their caregivers to talk candidly about why they are not
using VA, whether they are aware of the gender-specific services we
offer, and what additional services they would like to see VA offer."

The HRC representatives making the calls are also informing women
Veterans about the services VA offers and quickly connecting them with
appropriate departments if they are interested in trying VA health care.
Veterans who have complaints about VA are connected to a patient
advocate who helps resolve issues.

VA has trained professionals in all aspects of women's health, including
general primary care, osteoporosis management, heart disease, mental
health care, menopausal services and obesity-related issues, such as
diabetes. Preventive screenings for breast and cervical cancer are also
areas in which VA excels. Soon, all VA facilities will offer
comprehensive primary care for women from a single provider.

The Women Veterans Health Care program has made significant changes in
the last few years to enhance the health care offered to eligible women
Veterans. This progress includes:

*            Adopting key policies to improve access and enhance
services for women Veterans;

*            Implementing comprehensive primary care for women Veterans;

*            Conducting cutting-edge research on the effects of military
service on women's lives;

*            Improving communication and outreach to women Veterans; and

*            Providing mental health, homelessness and other services
designed to meet the unique needs of women Veterans

For more information about VA programs and services for women Veterans,
please visit: and

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