Women are the fastest-growing segment of the Veteran population, a trend that will continue as the number of male Veterans is projected to decline over the next decade. Women comprise 17.9 percent of service members in the post-9/11 period, and currently, there are more than 2 million female Vets, representing nearly 10 percent of the Veteran community.
Despite this trend, female Veterans are often without the proper care to support their needs when they return from service. A recent survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) found that only 27 percent of women Veteran respondents felt the U.S. public respected their service. According to research, women who have served in the military are more than twice as likely to experience homelessness than those who have not served. Nearly 12 percent of female Veterans are treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, and 6.5 percent of female Vets are treated for a major depressive disorder.
Fortunately, there is a growing realization nationwide that more should be done for women Veterans. One significant proposal is a bill that the U.S. Senate is considering. The Deborah Sampson Act is named after a woman who disguised herself as a man to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. This bill seeks to address gender disparities at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure women Veterans receive equitable care. The bill aims to fill critical gaps in VA care for women Vets, including providing peer-to-peer funding assistance and medical care for newborns, improving legal and support services, and enhancing data tracking and reporting.
“Women are courageously signing up to serve our country at a higher rate than ever before, and we need to make sure every resource is available to them when they return from deployment,” said Jon Tester, U.S. senator from Montana, when he and other senators introduced the bill in March. “This bill will help change the VA’s culture to recognize the women who have served.”
Specifically, the bill would empower women Veterans by expanding group counseling and call centers for women Veterans. It would also improve the quality of care for infant children of women Veterans by increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities can provide and by authorizing medically necessary transportation for newborns.
Critically, the bill also seeks to enhance the collection and analysis of data regarding women and minority Veterans and to expand outreach by centralizing all information for women Veterans on the VA website.
Regardless of whether the Deborah Sampson Act becomes law, more needs to be done to provide female Veterans the care they deserve. Cognosante is dedicated to making a difference for Veterans. Our team will continue to build on a legacy of innovative and pragmatic solutions in support of health programs for those who serve and have served our nation. We understand the obstacles that inadequate information systems, time-consuming claims processing, and clinician shortages pose, and are dedicated to improving healthcare for active-duty military, reservists, and Veterans.
As a company, Cognosante has a singular vision: to improve the U.S. healthcare system through a fundamentally different approach to information technology. Ultimately, we want Veterans to receive the quality healthcare they have earned in service to our country.
Cognosante offers healthcare technology innovations and solutions that provide and empower the highest standard of healthcare outcomes for those who have served and continue to serve. Within the VA and Department of Defense (DoD) communities, Cognosante delivers a comprehensive framework to manage healthcare information electronically. We help the VA streamline the disability rating process, increase Veterans’ access to care in the community, and expand access to easily transferable files, building efficiencies between government consumers and healthcare providers.