Women Veterans, if you are receiving health care in a non-VA facility, it is important to let your provider know about your military service and how that can impact your health care needs.

Let your non-VA health care teams know about this free, one-hour, accredited training course they may take to learn ways to provide women Veterans with the best care possible.

More than 2 million women Veterans live in the United States today (about the equivalent of the population of Nebraska). And every one of you deserve the best health care possible, whether at a VA facility or in a local community. Approximately 78 percent of women Veterans get some part of their health care outside of VA at academic centers and community practices.

Women Veterans have unique life experiences that may require different medical assessments, care, and resources. For example, issues such as musculoskeletal pain, military sexual trauma, and post-deployment adjustment can differently impact women Veterans.

Use this link to the training module

Non-VA health care clinicians may not be aware of specific areas of concern to consider when caring for women Veterans. To address this need, VA’s Office of Women’s Health has created a training module: “Caring for Women Veterans,” which trains non-VA clinicians to provide Veteran and gender-specific care. This training is free and can be taken online any time.

If you visit non-VA medical clinics, or know non-VA health care providers, we ask that you take this flyer to them during your next visit: https://womenshealth.va.gov/WOMENSHEALTH/docs/Flyer-826.pdf.

If you have friends or acquaintances who work in the medical field, we ask you share this with them.

Community clinicians who take this course will: 

  • Be informed about the evolving role, increasing number, and diversity of women in military service.
  • Identify how to discuss someone’s military history and understand the implications of how a woman Veteran’s service might affect her current or future health.
  • Identify strategies for integrating patient-centered, sensitive care into the breast and pelvic exam for someone who has experienced trauma.
  • Obtain additional resources and benefits that may be available to you as a women Veteran through VA, including maternity care benefits.

Dr. Christine Kolehmainen, director for education, Office of Women’s Health, says “Thank you for being an active part of the care you receive.”

To learn more about VA health care services for women Veterans, visit https://womenshealth.va.gov/.

You can also call or text the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-829-6636 (1-855-VA WOMEN).

By VA Office of Women’s Health

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Published on Sep. 20, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 1,768

3 Comments

  1. Julia Peterson September 27, 2022 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    A lot of VA providers aren’t even aware of how to properly provide/ treat female veterans. I’ve always been treated better outside the VA; maybe it’s because you don’t provide enough training. One hour isn’t enough to even cover how to properly treat female vets with PTSD from MST and what they might expect.

  2. Jana Yenter Horst September 27, 2022 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    To Cathy Bennett-Santos,

    I am in agreement with your issues regarding privacy. I opted out, even though – Thanks to Women Veterans – I am just starting my process of submitting information, etc. The reason I opted out is because of one healthcare clinic that slandered and libeled me, putting incorrect information in my chart. This HIPAA thing has become a HUGE issue for me, and I used to work in healthcare, teach it, and now am a long term chronic patient. This makes me so mad. I have had people to the same thing to me. Thank you. And thanks to Womens Vet

  3. Cathy Bennett-Santos September 27, 2022 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    I am the Founder of the National Alliance of Women Veterans, Incorporated, the first nationally recognized nonprofit to address women veterans who are sexual assault in military service; as well as an Academic Research Professional whose focus is on African American women veterans, who have been marginalized and disproportionately neglected for receiving health care and other veteran’s benefits. In the past 30 years, since my Congressional testimony, the VA has denied me access to my benefits and thwarted efforts to become a sustaining, independent productive member of society. Additionally, they caused me life-threatening situations that they now are working within to deny and cover up in many ways.
    It is disturbing that Dr. Christine Kolehmainen, director for education, Office of Women’s Health clearly lacks any professional ethics on PHI, or protecting patient data; and would urge veterans to share their information.
    In September 2019, veterans were provided 10164/5 to opt-out of sharing their electronic data and now this initiative is suggesting that they ignore their rights to privacy. When veterans are seeking external provider care. It is a violation to give Medicare, researchers, and anyone with and @va.gov email access to patient records.
    I opted-out and adamantly rejected sharing my records. Dr. David Oslin called me on my private telephone number clearly accessing my medical records. He admonished me about a chat discussion that was not a VA or related forum; however, he asked me about taking medicines and expressed his disdain with the chat. I had commented in a chat to Dr. Susan DelMaestro who was the keynote speaker in a forum. I asked her in the chat about the 1993 role she had in MST victims. I explained that I was told by her that my experience never happened after presenting to her the Psychiatric evaluation from military service and the Pentagon report on a 15-6 investigation that was founded just months prior.
    In the past week, I saw that Medicare which has been involved in denying me an alternative treatment, has accessed my VA records and it is now shared in several medical health portals, ie Luminis, Mercy via My Chart. I learned that the opt-out option was disabled in My HealtheVet and that there is documentation which I have demanded medical evidence by the Philadelphia VA that as of this date, remains.
    Dr. David Oslin has established a coalition of researchers where billions of dollars are being appropriated in his many roles within the VA and the University of Pennsylvania, and other platforms across the United States of America. The Philadelphia VA has no transparency in the research and denies any participation from advocates with long-time standing in the research field.
    Any attempts to address the issue have resulted in retaliation and threats by VA-related platforms, specifically Patricia Hayes who has been involved in research and consistently disseminates erroneous information.
    The Center for Women Veterans was established in 1994 to address the needs of women veterans; and in 1992 it is the Congressional mandate resulting from my testimony that women have specific treatment facilities in all VA Hospitals in the country and MST Counseling.
    However, Ms. Hayes and her collaborators, Elizabeth Estabrook, Kayla Williams are involved in changing or misleading all program functions to include LGBTQ which have different and unique characteristics relating to military service.
    The privacy of LGBTQ is being violated when their gender is revealed without their knowledge and their presence presents a threat to women. The VA has determined that “women” must take coping skills to adapt to the LGBTQ despite the triggers that they present. Privacy is a huge challenge when transgender or other gender roles desire privacy and their specific classification to be kept private.
    I would like to have my records verified for any mental health diagnosis and the access by the Philadelphia VA on sharing my PHI and medical records be investigated immediately.
    I am requesting that Dr. Oslin be investigated for his research and processes for appropriately following international research laws and policy using informed consent and protocol authorization. I was neither his patient or enrolled in any Mental Health program when he accessed my medical records and called me on my phone. Every attempt to address these matters have been ignored.
    I believe that the Office of Women’s Health lacks the ability to navigate in the veteran’s space without Congressional oversight for their intrusive role in violating veterans, as well as Medicare. Medicare is an intrusive that accesses a huge veteran population for generating revenues for eligible health services the VA provides.
    I would ask that serious attention to these matters be a priority. Veterans are dying and they cannot get the help that they deserve.

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