Thursday, June 19, 2008

VA Reaches Out to Women Veterans

VA Reaches Out to Women Veterans
Department Hosts 4th Quadrennial Summit

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2008) - The Fourth National Summit on Women
Veterans' Issues will take place at the Westin Washington, D.C., City
Center from June 20-22. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B.
Peake said the three-day meeting will help ensure that women veterans
know about the benefits and health care they have earned.

"With more women than ever serving in our armed forces, this public
forum will bring visibility to the issues important to women veterans of
all eras," Peake said. "Today, women are important contributors to the
military and valued members of the veterans community."

Recognizing the valor, service and sacrifice of America's 1.7 million
women veterans, VA has created a comprehensive array of benefits and

Women veterans are entitled to the same benefits and medical care as
their male counterparts, including health care, disability compensation,
education assistance, work-study allowance, vocational rehabilitation,
employment and counseling services, insurance, home loan benefits,
nursing home care, survivor benefits and various burial benefits.

In addition, VA also has a multitude of services and programs that
respond to the unique needs of women veterans, including pap smears,
mammography, and general reproductive health care, substance abuse
counseling, counseling for sexual trauma, and evaluation and treatment
for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Today, over 200,000 women are serving in the armed forces. About 11
percent of the U.S. forces currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are

According to a recent "hospital report card" by VA, the Department's
screening for breast and cervical cancer for women in VA facilities
exceeds screening in private-sector facilities, but women veterans lag
behind their male counterparts in some quality measurements.

VA has already launched an aggressive program to ensure women veterans
receive the highest quality of care, including $32.5 million to purchase
additional equipment to meet the health care needs of women. This
includes full field digital mammography equipment, stereotactic imaging
technology, specialized ultrasound and biopsy equipment and DEXA
scanners for bone density measurements. The status of health care for
women veterans will be a major topic at the summit.

There is a women veterans program manager at every VA medical center, a
women's liaison at every community based outpatient clinic and a women
veterans coordinator at every VA regional office.

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