Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health and Women Veterans Task Force, introduced the Women Veterans Equal Access to Quality Care Act, which would ensure that gender-specific services are continuously available at every VA medical center and community-based outpatient clinic for our nation’s women veterans.
“As a longstanding member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have heard too many stories about VA’s difficulty meeting the specific needs of women veterans,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “VA needs to adapt to the complex and unique needs of women veterans, and that means ensuring gender-specific healthcare services are available to them. My bill directs VA to provide these critical resources to women veterans, tackles the healthcare inequities and disparities in accessing quality and timely care, and, ultimately, improves the health outcomes and lives of women veterans across the nation.”
A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that 39 of 145 VA medical centers or VA healthcare systems in fiscal year 2015 (about 27 percent) did not have an onsite gynecologist. Nationwide, on-site availability of mammography and OB/GYN care is inconsistent, even in facilities serving large populations of women veterans. Furthermore, VA has acknowledged that nine percent of VA community-based outpatient clinics that provide primary care lacked a dedicated women’s health provider.
The Women Veterans Equal Access to Quality Care Act would direct VA to ensure that gender-specific services like preventive screening and gynecology specialty care are continuously available at every VA medical center and community-based outpatient clinic, and would require VA to study the use of extended hours as a means to reduce barriers to care.
For a copy of the full text of the bill, click here.