This morning, AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary President Charlene Kee testified before a special session of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to discuss the unique issues facing women veterans. To listen to audio from the roundtable discussion, Click Here.
During her testimony, Kee highlighted shortfalls in the current VA health care system such as treatment options for conditions that present unique challenges to female veterans like osteoporosis, breast cancer, sexual trauma, and cardiac care.
Kee also noted that the VA needs a concerted outreach effort to female veterans, ensuring that they know what is available and how to take advantage of their earned health care benefits.
"Male servicemembers use VA health care at a rate that has averaged 22 percent. Female veterans have just recently increased their usage to 15 percent," Kee said. "AMVETS suggests that the VA take immediate action to increase outreach that specifically targets women veterans and silmultaneously study the other barriers, including availability of care."
Kee also suggested that the VA offer child care services for veterans who are the primary care givers for children. Though this kind of program would be available to both male and female veterans, studies show that women are disproportionately affected by the lack of adequate child services when they seek care from therapeutic programs requiring privacy and confidentiality, such as PTSD or military sexual trauma.
As the committee decides on appropriate courses of action to best serve our female veterans, committee chairman Bob Filner indicated that more hearings would take place in the near future.
(Photos, Top: AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary President Charlene Key testifies before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on Wednesday, May 20, 2009. Photo by Ray Kelley. Bottom: Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, asks questions to the panel of women veterans and veterans' advocates gathered on Capitol Hill to discuss women veterans issues on Wednesday, May 20, 2009. Photo by Ryan Gallucci.)