Focus groups of veteran women at the National Women Veterans Summit in 2017 gathered together to talk about the issues facing women who are transitioning to civilian life after being in the military. A big focus of the discussions was health care and VA benefits. They determined that there was a definite need for help for veterans moving from the health care provided while active and the care provided from the VA. The suggestion came that the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) could be a big help in that regard by offering workshops.
Another issue they confronted was the common assumption that they were spouses or dependents when they contacted the VA. This made it difficult for them to get recognized as veterans and highlighted some of the stereotypes women veterans face every day. They also found that there were not enough services specifically for women, such as female doctors, support groups for women, and even a lack of walking casts and other equipment in women’s sizes.
The focus groups are considered the beginning of a journey to offer better and more progressive programs offered to women veterans. The goal is to improve TAP to make it more accessible and functional. Growing from the focus groups will be a pilot project through five Air Force bases in 2018 where women will be provided an information session that outlines all of the services they can access after they have transitioned to civilian life. The hope is that this will help eliminate much of the confusion about accessing and registering for VA health care. If this initiative works, then it will be extended to other bases and branches in the future.
These focus groups work in conjunction with a survey released by the VA that focused on the barriers women veterans face when transitioning. That survey determined that there is a need also for improved care environments and more designated women’s health providers.
As the military evolves and grows it is vital that our women veterans do not get left behind when they transition to civilian life. They face unique challenges that perhaps had not properly been considered before. The VA hopes the measures it is taking will help make the process easier and more inclusive.
If you are in need of a Veterans attorney, do not hesitate to contact Gustad Law online or by calling 206-533-2222.
Williams, Kayla. “Information from focus groups can change the way VA delivers health care to Women Veterans.” VAntage Point. Web. 21 December 2017