Preliminary Findings on VA’s Provision of Health Care Services to Women Veterans

The summary of the GAO report (pdf) released this week:

….   None of the VAMCs and CBOCs GAO visited were fully compliant with VA policy requirements related to privacy for women veterans in all clinical settings where those requirements applied. For example, many of the medical facilities GAO visited did not have adequate visual and auditory privacy in their check-in areas. Further, the facilities GAO visited were in various stages of implementing VA’s new initiative to provide comprehensive primary care for women veterans, but officials at some VAMCs and CBOCs reported that they were unclear about the specific steps they would need to take to meet the goals of the new policy. Officials at facilities that GAO visited identified a number of challenges they face in providing health care services to the increasing numbers of women veterans seeking VA health care. One challenge was that space constraints have raised issues affecting the provision of health care services. For example, the number, size, or configuration of exam rooms or bathrooms sometimes made it difficult for facilities to comply with VA requirements related to privacy for women veterans. Officials also reported challenges hiring providers with specific training and experience in women’s health care and in mental health care, such as treatment for women veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or who had experienced military sexual trauma.

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