Women Veterans do not always come to VA for medical care, but we interviewed three women who do to see what they would say to those who don’t. We asked the same question as always: Why do you get your health care at VA?
Air Force Veteran Karla
Women do not self-identify as Veterans first. But in the women’s clinic, they are Veterans, most of the staff are female Veterans, and they understand what the female Veterans are going through when they’re there.
Knowing that you’re dealing with people who have been through the same things that you’ve been through on every level, not just as Veterans and having been somewhere, but as female Veterans, makes a big difference. I’m Natasha; I was in the Army. I chose the Army because they said a girl shouldn’t.
The fact that I can have care from some of the best doctors in the city – some of the exact same doctors at VA that I used to see out in the private sector – is phenomenal. So my suggestion to any Veterans, or anyone on active duty right now, is to remember that you have that in your back pocket, and tap into it, because it’s a great resource.
I’m Karla and I was in the Air Force from 1982 to 1986. I never realized I was eligible for VA services until some cousins of mine and a friend encouraged me to look into it. I told them no, I’m not retired, I’m not severely disabled, I didn’t serve war time. I was so stunned because I printed off the form and it took me two minutes to fill it out. I went to VA and they have taken excellent care of me.
Army National Guard Veteran Kimberly
It’s Kimberly. I was in the Army National Guard. Women just don’t really realize you can come to VA for health care and get your maternity care paid for and get a breast pump. These are all sorts of things that I was not aware of until I went there. Knowing that that’s available, I think we are just trying to get the word out and educate. (Services vary by location and eligibility.)
VA provides almost everything that a female Veteran needs. I have had gyno visits there, and all my mammograms there. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I went through pre-natal visits at VA. For me, the difference is the comfort level. I know what to expect. I know I can go there and I know who I’m going to see. I know how to navigate around where I’m trying to go. So, it’s a one stop women’s’ shop.
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Enrolling for VA health care is easier than ever before. Explore your eligibility today at www.choose.va.gov/health.