New Veterans' Caregivers Bill -- A Response to Molly
So Molly Pitcher said to my last post:
WOW. Where to start. Every veteran is entitled to treatment at a VA whether service connected or not. If you are service connected over 50% all treatment is free. Women do not receive adequate care. I would suggest reading recent GAO reports on the matter. What you take for granted in your private physicians office, I thank Congress for. Childcare: women vets are WAY younger than male vets. therefore childcare is a HUGE barrier to care. Its also true for most OIF/OEF vets. However, women are getting the spot light. It will benefit the single dad tho too. so why complain? To answer you question about a admitted vet: way too early to tell, these are pilot programs. Women are a small minority in the VA. We fight extremely hard to get equitable care (and it is not equitable). Please do some reading before writing against what we work hard for. Check out GAO please. I will be interested in what you post then. I mean you no disrespect and have a huge amount of respect for any mother with as many children as you in the service, however how many are daughters? Follow up with me at my email, and I will be happy to send you the different reports.
Different niches of veterans have been fighting for whats best for them since there were veterans groups. Women are finally doing the same. Don't discount that. esp. when they are the smallest minority in the VA.
Full report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10287.pdf
IF you are enrolled in the VA, care for ALL service-connected conditions is free -- even if it is not rated at or above 50% disabled (you're just in a lower priority group which has its own problems of getting services). The rules for care and medications you receive via the VA for non-service conditions are complex (can you say convoluted?) but the bottom line is that you MAY have to pay a co-pay or fee. Or not. Results may vary.1.VA must determine your eligibility [for VA health care] status as a veteran by reviewing your◦Character of Discharge from active military service, and your
◦Length of active military service [snip].
2.VA must determine whether you qualify for one of the eight enrollment Priority Groups.
+ Enrollment Restriction: In order to ensure the availability of quality and timely health care to veterans with service connected conditions, special authority based on military service, low income, and those with special health care needs, in January 2003 VA made the difficult decision to stop enrolling new Priority Group 8 (high income) veterans whose income exceeded VA Income Thresholds.
Certain veterans do not need to be enrolled to receive medical care benefits.
You do not have to be enrolled if you:
•Have been determined by VA to be 50% or more disabled from service-connected (SC) conditions
•Are seeking care for a VA rated service-connected disability only
•It is less than one year since you were discharged for a disability that the military determined was incurred or aggravated by your service, but that VA has not yet rated
Molly: Women do not receive adequate care.
The VA facilities GAO visited provided basic gender-specific and outpatient mental health services to women veterans on site, and some facilities also provided specialized services for women. Seventeen of the 19 medical facilities GAO visited offered basic gender-specific services including pelvic examinations and cervical cancer screening on site, and 15 offered access to one or more female providers for gender-specific care. The availability of specialized gender-specific services--such as treatment of reproductive cancers--and mental health services for women varied by service and facility. While some VAMCs offered a broad array of specialized gender-specific care on site, smaller CBOCs referred women to other VA or non-VA facilities for many or most of these services. Nationally, 9 VAMCs have residential mental health programs that are for women only or have dedicated cohorts for women.
Now, if you were referring to the VA's Report of the Under Secretary for Health Workgroup, Provision of Primary Care to Women Veterans and the discussions of women veterans' dissatisfaction (performance) ratings for VA services... or the mismatch in utilization of services (immunizations, colo-rectal screenings, etc.) between male and female veterans, the assumption being that these services are not being offered or communicated as well to female veterans? OK. I get that. Something that needs attention. However, utilization of care is not the same as adequacy or equity of care. I heard no such allegations of inequity by the female veterans appearing before the Committee on Veterans Affairs (see discussion a bit later) nor did I read or hear examples of services provided to male veterans that women veterans did not also receive. Does that mean there aren't any disparities? No, but no one has recently spoken to some disparity or a level of disparity that exists and requires attention. Do service levels and quality differ from facility to facility? Yes, they do. But those measures are across the board and not explicit to women veterans. Poor (and exceptional) service affect men veterans at those facilities as well.
Molly: childcare is a HUGE barrier to care.
Because many of these women work or have child care responsibilities, multiple visits can be problematic, especially when services are not available in the evenings or on weekends.[Note that the footnote to this entry states that under current law, the VA cannot provide child care nor operate childcare facilities.]
Even in facilities that have "one-stop" providers, the GAO notes [p. 26, para. 2] that many of the women veterans themselves have opted to have their gynecological care from a VA provider separate from their VA PCP. The GAO report does not say or even intimate that child care is a significant problem or bar to access and offers no facts, figures, suggestions or recommendation for such.
In fact, since the GAO report is silent on the issue, I was curious where the impetus had come from. Seems the child care "thing" resulted from testimony from two of five [hand-selected] female veteran panelists representing various veterans' organizations that appeared before the July 2009 Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs Hearing on "Women Veterans: Bridging the Gaps in Care".
According to the summary of the panel's testimony provided by Women's Rights/Change.org, the panelists "spoke about the vital need for child care at VA facilities, as well [as] the importance of making VA clinics and hospitals more child-friendly." I watched the video of the hearing to ascertain who said what and the basis of this dire need. Ms Olds of the VFW listed child care among the needs of women veterans on par with hiring more physicians and mental healthcare providers, access to service, and outreach to women veterans, etc. It was a big issue for panelist Ms Williams, as well (she sits on the Board of a women's veterans organization whose name was not in her written testimony and I could not understand the organization's name from viewing her testimony.)
Ms Williams regales the Committee and guests with shocking stories of a woman veteran who had to change her child's diaper on the floor at a VAMC while waiting for appointments and of another who was told emphatically that if she couldn't find child care for her child, she should just not show up. I don't doubt for a second these stories are true -- who would make such things up? I find no study, no data, no survey -- nothing in sworn testimony or reports or news stories -- to indicate whether, in fact, lack of childcare impacts in any way access to health care for veterans (male or female); there are just anecdotal accounts that it's a problem for two veterans.
In her testimony before the Committee, Ms Olds referred to the VA's Report of the Under Secretary for Health Workgroup, Provision of Primary Care to Women Veterans and pointed to their findings generally -- which led me to think it contained facts or a discussion or study or recommendation on child care, but I could find no such information in that report on the need for child care. I did find (my emphasis):
While no-show rates for general primary care have a target of 13 percent, the no-show rates for women’s gender-specific prevention clinics have ranged from 14 percent to well over 28 percent at most facilities. (f/n 70) Factors related to no-show rates for women’s clinics differ from those for men, e.g., not missing work and childcare and eldercare responsibilities.
Molly: Women are a small minority in the VA.
Molly: I mean you no disrespect
sure you do... if even a little or you wouldn't have admonished me as you did.
Jeez. I'm surprised you didn't pull the race card... or the chickenhawk argument... and you didn't mention that in addition to the three sons (two are veterans and one is active), my father was a disabled veteran, my husband is a veteran (note: 25 years, 2 combat tours, and not eligible to enroll for VA medical services!), one sister is a veteran of the USMC in the 70's, and we have a nephew also serving (AF). As for the daughter? She went to medical school. Aren't my husband and three sons enough?
Molly: I will be interested in what you post then.
Well, now you know.