Representative Joe Cunningham (SC) has introduced H.R. 2982, Women Veterans Health Care Accountability Act, to identify and remedy barriers women veterans face when trying to access VA health care. The legislation would require the VA Secretary to survey women veterans-both those who use VA health care and those who do not-to understand their reasons for not using VA services. The survey will question women veterans about their perceptions of safety in VA facilities, access to services, and stigmas they may express about seeking treatment for sensitive issues such as military sexual trauma, mental health or substance abuse disorders. The legislation would then require VA to identify strategies for addressing any issues identified by the survey.
According to VA, only 22% of women veterans compared with 28% of male veterans use VA health care. VA has made many improvements in the way it manages the care of women using the system, and has launched campaigns to address veteran to veteran harassment, awareness about women veterans’ eligibility for VA benefits and services, and stigma for mental health seeking, yet these problems persist. Findings from a detailed survey may assist the VA in developing tactics to tackle some of the ongoing concerns and barriers women veterans face when accessing VA health care.
Please contact your Representative in Congress to support H.R. 2982.