VA Facilities Lack Female-Specific Care

Add inadequate women-specific medical care to the long list of problems plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs. A review of internal VA documents by the Associated Press found that facilities are severely lacking when it comes to women’s health, even with an investment of more than $1.3 billion since 2008. Nearly one in four hospitals don’t have a full-time gynecologist on staff. When community-based clinics have to refer women to outside institutions for breast-cancer screening, the majority of mammogram results are not provided to the patient within the specified two-week window. Female patients are more likely than men to be put on the special waiting list for those who cannot be seen within 90 days of registering. Also, child-bearing-age female veterans are also more likely to be given drugs that could cause birth defects than those who receive private medical care. “Are there problems? Yes,” admitted Dr. Patricia Hayes, the VA’s chief consultant for women’s health, but she promised “we are going to continue to be able to adjust to these circumstances quickly.”