VA Hospitals Focus On Serving Female Vets

Women veterans, female veterans, va hospitals, veteran healthcare

With the growing number of women veterans in the US, veteran healthcare is getting a significant update. In White River Junction, Vermont, the ribbon was cut on Friday on a new, $1.02-million outpatient care center specifically for women.

Currently, around half the nation's 154 VA medical facilities have gender-specific care centers, serving an estimated 1.8 to 2-million female veterans in the country. During the 1990-1991 Gulf War, 11 percent of active duty forces were women. The numbers have climbed, Hayes said, to 15 percent of active duty military personnel today, and 18 percent of National Guard and reserve forces.
"We have not kept up with that reality [of growth in women’s military service]," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "And today, in White River, is an indication that we're beginning to make some real progress."
According to Dr. Patty Hayes, the VA's national director for women's health services, women make up the fastest-growing group of veterans in the country. Dr. Hayes told NECN 337,000 women receive care at VA sites around the country. That number is more than twice what it was just two years ago, Hayes said, and she called new facilities like Vermont's critical to keeping up with growing demand.
"We're projecting we're going to double again in two years, nationally," Hayes said.