In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, Sen. Patty Murray has introduced legislation to provide an array of health care services at VA hospitals/clinics, for female veterans:
The legislation, the Women Veterans Health Improvement Act of 2008, seeks to prepare the VA for the unprecedented influx of female veterans who will access care there in the coming years. The legislation addresses many of the unique needs of female veterans by authorizing programs to improve care for Military Sexual Trauma (MST), increase research on the current barriers to care, and expand women veterans staff positions at the VA.
The bill was passed as part of S. 2969 – The Veterans' Health Care Authorization Act of 2008 -- a larger "omnibus" bill that incorporated a number of different veterans' health care measures.
This bill authorizes new assessments of the care we are and should be providing to women veterans.
Requires VA to report to Congress on its comprehensive assessment of VA services and programs for women veterans, and submit a plan on how it will address the health care needs of women.
Requires VA to work with the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the health consequences for women veterans who served in OIF/OEF.
The bill will also require the VA to:
Provide neonatal care to the newborns of eligible women veterans;
Implement a program to educate, train and certify mental health professionals to specialize in the provision of mental health services regarding military sexual trauma;
Implement a pilot program to provide reintegration and readjustment services to women veterans in retreat settings;
Report to Congress on the staffing for at least one full-time employee at each VA medical center who is a women veterans’ program manager, and
Ensure that there are OIF/OEF veterans on the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.