VA making extra effort to connect with women Veterans


shadow

Earning and restoring trust is a VA priority. Due to the difference in trust amongst women Veterans versus male Veterans, VA is making an extra effort to connect.

Since Oct. 1, 2020, VA’s White House VA Hotline created more than 12,000 cases for women Veteran concerns. The questions largely relate to Community Care, coordination of care, and service-connected benefits. Women Veterans calling 1-800-MyVA411 with general questions are mostly related to VA benefits, the MISSION Act, local VA facility directory assistance and COVID-19.

“VA’s commitment is to understand and support the journey of each Veteran including the care, benefits and services needs of the growing population of women Veterans.” – Dr. Lynda Davis, VA’s Chief Veterans Experience Officer

The combined feedback from Veterans Signals and contact centers reflects VA’s ability to listen. This includes capturing and assessing comments, concerns and compliments. These insights continue to greatly influence VA outreach and engagement efforts, which hopefully equates to increased trust and customer experience.

Other efforts

Other outreach and engagement efforts include:

  1. Designing a new Women Resource Guide as part of the VA Welcome Kit.
  2. Recognizing the many organizations that represent women who’ve served, VA strengthened relationships with leaders such as State Departments of Veterans Affairs, The American Legion Auxiliary, Women Veterans Alliance, Women Veterans Network: WoVeN, and the Military Sisterhood Initiative.
  3. Sending 45 million emails through with women specific resources and often shares specific resources with 600,000 known Women Veteran e-mail addresses #VetResources Newsletter.
  4. Hosting six Veterans Experience Live events in the past year with specific resources for Women Veterans which reached 114,000 and engaged with more than 5,000 comments, questions, and answers from VA women Veteran experts.
  5. Supporting Women Veterans in their communities through the 163 Community Veteran Engagement Boards (CVEBS) across the country who represent 1.6M+ Women Veterans.
  6. Inviting women Veterans to Virtual Veteran Experience Action Centers (V-VEAC), one stop VA and community enrollment events. During the Arizona V-VEAC, VA invited 18,000 Women Veterans to participate.
  7. Sharing the Women’s Health Transition Training to help female service members and Veterans learn about VA resources while leaving military service.

Women Veterans are looking to VA for care, benefits, and services four times more than they did 20 years ago. These Women Veterans have unique needs even compared to 20 years ago. VA is listening and responding to ensure all Women Veterans receive an exceptional and consistent experience.

For more information visit: https://www.va.gov/womenvet/ and https://www.womenshealth.va.gov/ 

Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.

Comments

  1. Natalie J. Stewart-Smith    

    Expect readers to take this article seriously? As a woman veteran I have received NOTHING, nothing from the VA.

    Oh, take that back, there was a letter addressed to “Mister,” decades ago. It has gotten no better!

    A fellow with the cowboy hat, barely gave me a second look when I applied at NAZVA. He was delighted to send me away. Why? My hard-earned teacher retirement made me ineligible for VA services – period. VA wanted nothing to do with me. Kind of ironic, given that in 1980’s I had been nominated for DACOWITS.

    I am a Viet Nam era veteran with service in ROK, I am an educator who taught at all levels, including military college, I am an historian of women’s military history. In the Army, I was “the first woman officer to…” multiple times. It was my JOB, and I did not let any obstacle stop me. The VA long ago turned a blind eye toward that of so many of my sisters-in-service (research Youtube.com CPT Mary Agnes “Irish” Breshnahan, and be forever ashamed!).

    My experiences show that dealing with the VA is disillusioning – tainted with dismissal and disrespect toward women veterans. To conduct a PR campaign suggesting otherwise, is cruel and deceitful, at best.

  2. Joni    

    congratulations to our Veterans, I really appreciate them ..

  3. Jane Carpenter    

    There’s a Greek word for this article … BOLOGNA! (My former pastor was so fond of saying this!) I enlisted in 1979 and served 20 years (retired in 1999). I was told at my TAP briefing that I only had 1 year to put in the paperwork for VA benefits and, well, life happens and time just slips away. Fast forward to 2009 and a male coworker who was former military said that wasn’t so. I’ve put in claims and had to FIGHT tooth and nail for everything! Had an appeal FINALLY awarded in 2017 (7 years after it had been denied in 2010). Still trying to get the elusive 100% (cumulatively, I’m at over 175%, but not by VA “new math”). I was even formally diagnosed with PTSD at an inpatient VA treatment program, but they won’t honor it (classified as Non-specified “Anxiety” disorder) and trying to get that “increased” just triggers EVERYTHING. Oh, and recently found that the VA “dropped” me since I hadn’t contacted them in over a year (ummm, I thought annual follow-ups were for the VA docs to schedule since they have my records and know when I’m supposed to have another appointment? At least, that’s what they do for my husband), so I have to get re-vested or some sort of crap! Shame on you, VA!!

  4. Anna Vargas    

    I served 8 years last 1.5yrs in Afghanistan. I have service related injuries- ptsd/anxiety and knee injuries. When I came back I waited to go to the VA. I had two major deaths in my family- my father being one of them. Had lots of things to figure out. When I was finally ready a few years later- I went to the VA and they said I made too much $ and didn’t qualify for medical treatment. I left it alone. Time passed and opening up to my friends about this said that it didn’t matter how much $ I made- if it was service related I should be eligible for serving. The VA was not helpful and actually pushed me away from it all this time. I don’t use any benefits that I supposedly had after being a combat veteran. I will be starting the process for service connected injuries. Appreciate any advice from my fellow colleagues. We are all in this together and at minimum we can help each other.

  5. Nancy Jones    

    This statement from SW, is so very true. I am a Female Veteran enlisted 1979. The VA doesn’t listen to, are try to help or aid the female Veterans. There has been some changes, over the last few years. The services should be available to assist all Veterans, not just the good old boys. Today January 26, 2021, the standards must apply for all. Female Veterans service this country, and made the same sacrifices.

      1. Terri Robards    

        I totally agree, how about having to Navigate through all the things online in order to put in a claim, including not being sure which VA Forms or when and If they apply to your claim. If you call a VSO or a VA employee, you get many answers of which are either all different or not being clear enough.
        I have said that just the Red Tape and Hoops to jump through, are a “Trigger” in it’s self. Then, in my case for example, I have yet to get an answer as to how do I find or who do I talk to in order to get proof that I pressed charges against my Platoons OIC, which went to a Court Martial, where he was found Guilty. So you would think it would be easy to locate. Well I was discharged, you didn’t get copies of ANYTHING ….. Then fast forward 30 to 40 years and request things like your Medical or Personal Records ….. This is just another place that you have to learn to play games again and hope you can get what you’re looking for after your done, but don’t count on it, because they might have gotten WET or Burned up or just don’t exist.
        So I really think maybe they should talk to some of US Older Veterans of more than 30 years if they are Serious about Changes and getting it Right.

      2. Terri Robards    

        Forget it ……. See even this site isn’t that easy to use ….. I just wrote a whole Rant in Reply to Laura Lee Sutherland and after I tried to get it to Post, it made me fill out some info including doing a Math problem, after which I find that My whole Reply was DELETED !!! So I am Not about to go through the Stress again just to re,-write it.
        But I will just say, if they are Serious about the Changes that They say then I think They should ask at least a half of the Veterans of 30 to 50 years, what They think would be Helpful so That it will be Helpful to Everyone.

  6. Rennae Rosenberg    

    I’d like the VA and it’s cohorts to pay their bills! They service my mammogram and follow-up care to a civilian. 10 months later, the civilian bill isn’t paid and I’m getting personally billed! Then I’m in Collections! HELLO! Stop ignoring the paper work and Pay the caretaker the VA hired. So now I have to track down the right VA office and the right VA person to find out the billing has been rejected due to a code filed incorrectly by the civilian office. Instead of shtcanning the misnumbered billing , why couldn’t the VA office inform the civilians of the mistake? (VaA doesn’t!) What other choice but to bill me after 10 months of no payment?

  7. CYE    

    To the Editor:
    Please respond to the issues presented in the forum. It would help validate this new initiative the VA by listening AND responding to their concerns. Are they just talking with no one really listening?

    [Editor: CYE, I have forwarded your concern to the program office responsible for this blog.]

  8. September Amyx    

    So, I’m just NOT seeing these programs for us female veterans. I served 10 yrs. Active Duty Air Force & have been using the VA for 26 years. Every time I need my non-controlled Rx’s I have to fight for them. It’s an unpleasant, uneccessary CHORE!! Plus they act like they don’t have a clue about women’s health or anything else for that matter!! Get with YOUR program, VA!!

  9. Sheila C Berg    

    I have had a Service connected injury since 2005. Reviewing the initiative goals for Women Veterans are paltry. First, Why is the VA Consulting the American Legion Auxiliary? They didn’t served! This is an insult to Women who served. The mindset of the VA continues to review women as ” Donut Dollies” in uniform. Why hasn’t a guide for Women Veterans been developed before. As the fastest growing demographic in the Military I suggest the VA get going at Warp speed. Enough of the empty promises!

    [Editor: Sheila, is this the guide you’re looking for? https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/79371/va-women-veterans-health-quick-start-guide-now-available/ ]

  10. Karen O'Connor, FORCM, RET USN    

    I recommend you discuss with your media department then as to why there is not a single female veteran in the most recent Chose.VA commercial… disappointing.

  11. SW    

    Totally NOT true. My va is still very much a good old boys network. Why are you talking to the American Legion Auxiliary??? Women veterans are and should be legion members, not auxiliary. The va does not listen to veterans and denies equipment that veterans obviously need. I’ve had to PAY OUT OF POCKET for things I’ve needed because the va wouldn’t (read refused to) provide them AND to top it off the va WILL NOT reimburse me for those expenses. Most recently I had a provider order equipment for me (NOV 20) but last week (Jan 14) I had to contact that provider asking the status of the order. She had to check on it and then this week (Jan 19) I received what was ordered. That’s real compassion and caring!

Comments are closed.