KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Women Face VA Obstacles In Treatment For War Disorders

Women are saying they face roadblocks to care when they seek treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals, even as they return in record numbers from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, ABC News reports.

"Women have experienced the same psychological and emotional trauma as their male counterparts, but the VA has only begun to pay attention to their gender-specific needs, according to to 'Combat to Community,' a 2009 report conducted the veterans' advocacy group, Swords to Plowshares. … Women are enrolling in VA healthcare at 'historical rates,' ... but say they face roadblocks to good care." Women face problems unique to their gender including sexual harassment and guilt "over leaving children behind." Some lawmakers are hopeful, however, that they can get changes to the system to help women with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and other diagnoses. "At least three bills call for larger studies on women who've served in Afghanistan and Iraq to find out how war affects their physical, mental and reproductive health, including one by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington" (Donaldson James, 3/2).

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