U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Supporting the Whole Woman Veteran - Leadership and Resiliency through COVID and Beyond.
Please join the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on RallyPoint, September 30th from 3-4PM EST, for a one of a kind Woman Veteran Q&A with Deputy Secretary Col Pamela Powers.

You can ask questions to the following people in advance or during the live event by typing your questions into the "Respond to original question..." box below:

Patty Hayes, Ph.D., Chief Officer, Women's Health Service
Maj Jaquie Hayes-Byrd, Executive Director, Center for Women Veterans
Sara Eichstaedt, Clinical Social Worker, Military National Sexual Trauma Program
LtCol Brad Lanto, Director of Partnerships for Suicide Prevention Program
SGT Bryce Carpenter, Office of Engagement and Memorial Innovations (OEMI)
CPT Cheryl Rawls, VBA, ADUS Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement
The Honorable Cheryl Mason, Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals
Col Dennis May, Deputy, Center for Minority Veterans
SGT Bryce Carpenter, NCA, Educational Outreach Programs Officer
RDML Ann Duff, Executive Director, Office of Survivors Assistance
Jennifer Strauss, National Women's Mental Health Program Manager
Kathy Hedrick, PhD, Lead, Field Implementation Team, Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation
Amanda Johnson, MD, Director of Reproductive Health, Women’s Health Services
Kavitha Reddy, Associate Director, VHA OPCC & CT
Susan McCutcheon, National MH Director, Family/Women’s MH/MST
Col Michelle Gardner-Ince, Director, Women Veterans Small Business Initiative
Carrie McVicker, Senior Advisor, Office of the Deputy Secretary
Susan McCutcheon, National Mental Health Director
LTC Elizabeth Brill, Office of Community Care, Chief Medical Officer OCC VHA

Women Veterans Health Care-
https://rly.pt/WomensHealth

Center for Women Veterans-
https://rly.pt/CenterForWomenVeterans
The CWV advises VA Secretary and leadership on issues impacting women Veterans to empower you, to ensure that you are aware of and have access to the benefits and services that Women Veterans deserve because we have earned them. We work hand in hand with VHA, VBA and NCA and staff offices to create the environment where women Veterans’ needs are recognized and met. We are the portal for all things women Veterans – to help create a positive Veterans experience. We integrate, advocate, and connect with open exchange of information and to serve as a resource hub to connect with local, state, and federal resources.

Women’s Mental Health, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention-
https://rly.pt/MentalHealth
VA offers a full continuum of gender-sensitive, evidence-informed mental health services for women Veterans, including general and specialty outpatient services, residential and inpatient care. VA mental health providers have the knowledge, skills and expertise to address women Veterans’ diverse treatment needs and preferences across the course of their lives. Reproductive mental health is an area of focus, including premenstrual mood problems, depression and anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum, depression during the transition to menopause, and mental health challenges faced by women with chronic pelvic pain, breast cancer or ovarian cancer.

VBA-
https://rly.pt/VAbenefits
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) delivers a wide array of benefits and services to eligible Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and survivors. Our benefits can include; providing compensation for an injury or loss sustained or aggravated while serving in the military, assisting Veterans with home purchase or educational needs, and providing access to career training, to name a few. VBA has Women Veteran Coordinators assigned to every regional office and they assist women Veterans with connecting to their benefits.

Appeals-
https://rly.pt/VAdecisionreviews
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) is an agency within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Its mission is to conduct hearings and issue timely decisions for Veterans and other appellants in compliance with the law, 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 7101(a). The Board is responsible for making final decisions on behalf of the Secretary regarding appeals for Veterans’ benefits and services from all three administrations - Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and National Cemetery Administration (NCA)—as well as the Office of General Counsel (OGC)that are presented to the Board for appellate review. The Board’s jurisdiction extends to all questions in a matter involving a decision by the Secretary under the law that affects a provision of benefits by the Secretary to Veterans, their dependents, or their survivors. 38 U.S.C. §§ 511(a); 7104(a). Final decisions on appeals are made by the Board based on the entire record in the proceeding and all applicable provisions of law and regulation. 38 U.S.C. § 7104(a).

Center for Minority Veterans-
https://rly.pt/VAcmv
The Center for Minority Veterans (CMV) was established by Public Law 103-446, in 1994. CMV serves as an advocate for minority Veterans by conducting outreach activities to promote the awareness and use of VA benefits and services. The Center’s activities include:
Promote the use of benefits authorized by this title by Veterans who are minorities and the conduct of outreach activities to Veterans who are minorities;
Disseminate information and serve as a resource center for the exchange of information regarding innovative and successful programs which improve the services available to Veterans who are minorities

For more information, contact the CMV Staff at [login to see] or visit the CMV website:https://rly.pt/VAcmv

MST-
Unfortunately, some Veterans experience sexual assault or sexual harassment during their service, and these experiences can have a lasting impact on health, even many years later. Recovery from military sexual trauma (MST) is possible, however, and VA is here to help. VA provides free care for both mental and physical health conditions related to Veterans’ experiences of MST and Veterans may be able to receive this care, even if they are not eligible for other VA care. You do not need to have reported your experiences at the time or have any documentation they occurred, and do not need to have a VA disability rating. Visit http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp to learn more.

NCA-
https://rly.pt/VAnca
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries will resume committal services starting June 9 in all but two VA national cemeteries. VA national cemeteries will contact families who were unable to hold a committal service due to the COVID-19 pandemic to arrange memorial services for their loved ones beginning in July. Veterans Legacy Memorial will allows online visitors to leave a “tribute” text at http://www.va.gov/remember

Caregiver-
https://rly.pt/VACaregiver
Veterans Affairs (VA) Caregiver Support Program (CSP) offers a wide array of services to family members and friends who care for Veterans, including on-line courses, face-to-face classes, telephone support, and peer support. These services are offered in addition to the support provided to families and caregivers across VA by clinicians as part of a Veteran’s care. Every VA medical center has a Caregiver Support Coordinator (CSC) who assists with information and referrals to these programs. For help, contact your local Caregiver Support Coordinator using the Caregiver Support Program CSC Locator Page or call the VA Caregiver Support Line at [login to see] (toll free 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET). You can also visit http://www.caregiver.va.gov.

Survivors Assistance-
https://rly.pt/SurvivorsAssistance
The Office of Survivors Assistance serves as an expert resource regarding all benefits and services furnished by the VA to Survivors and Dependents of deceased Veterans and members of the Armed Forces. We can help you navigate the myriad of benefits and services available, and direct you to your best options. Additionally, we work closely with veteran service organizations, other departments, state and local veteran groups and community leaders to educate everyone about available services and benefits.

Whole Health-
https://rly.pt/WholeHealth
Whole Health is VA’s cutting-edge holistic approach to care that supports your health and well-being. Whole Health is an approach to health care that empowers and equips Veterans to take charge of their health and well-being and to live their life to the fullest. Whole Health centers around what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. This means your health team will get to know you as a person, before working with you to develop a personalized health plan based on your values, needs, and goals. The Whole Health System includes conventional treatment, but also focuses on self-empowerment, self-healing, and self-care. The Whole Health System moves VA forward from focusing on episodic care to a more continuous engagement with you through your life. The Whole Health System is the current vision for complementary and integrative health (CIH) integration in VA and includes three components:

The Pathway: Veteran peers partnering with you and your family, exploring your mission/purpose/aspirations and beginning your overarching personal health plan.
Well-being Programs: Skill building and support; proactive, integrative health approaches such as stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, mindfulness, nutrition, acupuncture, health coaching
Whole Health Clinical Care: VA or community providers, or both, trained in Whole Health; focusing on relationships, complementary and integrative health approaches, and personal health planning

Women’s Health Services-
Women’s Health is responsible for the policy development and implementation of health care to women Veterans. The mission of Women’s Health is to ensure that all women Veterans receive equitable, high-quality, and comprehensive health care services in a sensitive and safe environment at all VA facilities.

OSDBU-
OSDBU advocates for Veterans to gain access to economic opportunities by developing policies and programs, improve market research, increase direct access and maximize the participation of procurement ready SDVOSBs and VOSBs in federal contracting.

RallyPoint Rules and Conduct: https://rallypoint.force.com/Support/s/article/rallypoint-answers-and-discussion-conduct-2020-03-13-10-21-35
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Responses: 108
SSG Kim Gilster
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This is not women veteran specific but I am wondering why community care chiropractic and acupuncture has been changed to only allow 12 initial treatments then 8 and 8? Many of us suffer from chronic pain and the current medications are of little to no help. However; acupuncture and chiropractic treatments really help a lot. We are not allowed the opiods that once helped us (only 5% of patients became addicted) yet, when we find treatments that do help, we are denied effective treatment.
To make matters worse, the practitioners are now being asked to do an unusual amount of paperwork and being treated as if they are VA employees instead of those contracted by the VA. My current acupuncturist who sees 12 veterans is gong to finish with us and then no longer take VA insurance because of this. I'm sure she is not the only one.
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SFC Susan Reynolds
SFC Susan Reynolds
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I had 12 months of Community Accupuncture under the Choice Program and did wonderfully with it. I was down to 1 visit every 2 weeks before funding was cutoff. That was about 3 yrs ago. Today, I'm in chronic pain at an 8 or 9 daily from a head injury in Iraq and osteoarthritis. The accupuncture I get is minimal since I see the acupuncturist maybe once every quarter or more. Self accupuncture is virtually impossible since I can't reach areas or apply pressure due to pain. Add in COVID restrictions on appointments and the VAs inability to meet my needs and I am simply in pain all the time. My husband is ready to divorce me because I'm angry, frustrated and tired all the time because I can't rest due to a chronic headache (24/7/365 x 13 yrs) that only narcotics or accupuncture provide relief from. Why won't the VA authorize me to go back into the community for civilian accupuncture instead of shoving useless meds down my throat?! 22 a day commit suicide for this reason!!
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SSG Product Manager
SSG (Join to see)
9 d
SFC Susan Reynolds - Hi Susan, it sounds like it might be helpful for you to talk to someone. We encourage you to check out this page to get connected to professional online support & in-person resources near you.
https://www.rallypoint.com/emergency-support
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SFC Susan Reynolds
SFC Susan Reynolds
9 d
SSG (Join to see) Thank you for your concern but I am fine really. Just VERY frustrated with a system that refuses to provide care that I was promised and earned. I'm 100% P&T and can't seem to get my team to talk to anyone outside of primary care. My MH Team does more for me than my PCP when it comes to my PHYSICAL care. What does THAT tell you? The Dorn VA is broken and I think it's time for the Secretary of the VA to address my issue.
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PO2 Gennail Clark-Owens
PO2 Gennail Clark-Owens
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I have the same issue with chronic pain and the 8 visits go so fast then I have almost 2 months in between approvals before im seen again and im back where I started from instead of continuing therapy like before. I was being treated for Migraines also and I haven't had one since I had continued treatment now im back taking the strong medicine because of the break in treatment.
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SSG J E.
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What is the best route to start talking about military sexual trauma in order to heal from it?
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SPC Motor Transport Operator
SPC (Join to see)
10 d
Why does VA want proofed before they are willing to consider comp and pen?
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SPC Amber McGee
SPC Amber McGee
10 d
Exactly what you're doing! Find someone, anyone who will listen with an ear that's QUALIFIED to give you advice on how to heal, then decide for yourself if it is advice you can live with.
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Capt Dr. Pat Engelhardt
Capt Dr. Pat Engelhardt
4 d
The VA Healthcare Psychological Services has MST Couselors, as well as your local VET Center. Seek a licensed Psychologist and Counselor. There are also Women's MST groups available through VA and VET Centers for added supports. I've used these services and like them very much!
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PO2 Gennail Clark-Owens
PO2 Gennail Clark-Owens
1 d
Why did it take so long for me to get matched with treatment for MST? It is going on two years and I am just now getting a treatment plan for 12 weeks starting this week.
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Lt Col Charlie Brown
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How do we connect the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces resiliency workshops (free to veterans) to our women vets who need it? We have virtual versions available as well. Who would be the POC for this?
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Andi Martinez
Andi Martinez
21 d
Visit here to find out more about the Resiliency program. To learn more about other Red Cross SAF programs to support members of the military and our veterans, contact your local Red Cross chapter. https://www.redcross.org/get-help/military-families/deployment-services/register-reconnection-workshops.html
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SrA Heather Luesing
SrA Heather Luesing
10 d
Very interested in what this program does, could you elaborate? I would be able to research more in my area, I have many resources I am using, to include CWT (a work program for vets in the VA system, the American Legion who gave me emergency housing and hooked me up with the CWT people, and I was just approved for HUD-VASH)
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