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Join us LIVE on March 23rd from 1-2 PM ET for a Q&A focused on Women Veterans. You can ask questions, on this page, about Women’s Health and Benefits Services.

You can ask questions to the following people:
» PO3 Ginger Miller - Founder and CEO, Women Veterans Interactive
» 1SG Zelda Davis - Management Analyst, VA
» CPO Missina Schallus - Communications Manager, Center for Women Veterans, VA
» SPC Crystal Ellington - Communications Director, Minority Veterans of America
» PO3 Melissa A. Washington - CEO & Founder, Women Veterans Alliance
» Patty Hayes, Ph.D. - Chief Officer, Women's Health, VA
» SSgt Lourdes Tiglao - Executive Director, Center for Women Veterans, VA
» SP5 Nicole Neri - Veteran Employment Coordinator, DOL
» Leah Christensen - Caregiver Support Program, VHA


Women Veteran Resources:
http://www.va.gov/womenvet/
http://www.womenshealth.va.gov/
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Responses: 23
SPC Jina Lofton
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I am wondering when the VA will take a serious look into diseases that severely impact women such as endometriosis, PCOS, and fibroids? Many are living with these conditions and the VA is denying them compensation and more importantly proper Healthcare for these illnesses. The people who are doing the ratings and making decisions don't even understand the first thing about them. Ignoring them or down playing them only serves to put the female veterans in more pain and incurring further damage to their bodies. I'm afraid to even go to the VA. People think because you can't see physical damage that it doesn't exist but what about mental health, back injuries, or stomach issues? You can't see some of those issues, can't pinpoint when they started; however, people are treated for them and compensated.
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SPC Crystal Ellington
SPC Crystal Ellington
5 mo
Hello all!

The VA is consistently monitoring and updating women veteran specific conditions and unfortunately, it's a painstaking and lengthy process. In 2017, the VA began the process of updating the ratings schedule, and has since included the addition of FSAD, or Female Sexual Arousal Disorder--which is often a condition for many victims of MST. We encourage women veterans to refer to the VA website, where women veterans can find information on current benefits available to them, and can even reach out to the Women's Advisory Committee at [login to see] to voice concerns. I hope this helps!
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Patty Hayes, Ph.D.
Patty Hayes, Ph.D.
5 mo
Thank you for reaching out. We want VA to be women Veterans’ first choice when looking for high-quality care. We recognize that there is still work to be done. We are continuing to enhance care for women Veterans, prioritizing hiring and training women’s health primary care providers and increasing the gynecology workforce. Endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, (PCOS) and uterine fibroids can absolutely affect a person's health and wellbeing. Treatment for these conditions usually starts with your Women’s Health Primary Care Provider. Sometimes treatment of these conditions is best done with collaboration between primary care, gynecology and other specialists If you have additional questions, please contact the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN.­ You will get connected to the right staff at your facility who can assist you.
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Patty Hayes, Ph.D.
Patty Hayes, Ph.D.
5 mo
Thank you for reaching out. VA welcomes Veterans to VA for health care services regardless of whether they have a compensation claim or service-connected condition. We want VA to be women Veterans’ first choice when looking for high-quality care. Endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and uterine fibroids are common conditions and VA is here to help. Treatment for these conditions usually starts with your Women’s Health Primary Care Provider. Sometimes treatment of these conditions is best done with collaboration between primary care, gynecology and other specialists If you have additional questions, please contact the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN.­ You will get connected to the right staff at your facility who can assist you.
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PO3 Melissa A. Washington
PO3 Melissa A. Washington
5 mo
I have a disability rating for PCOS. This was also documented on my medical records during active duty.
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Patty Hayes, Ph.D.
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Good Day! I am Patty Hayes, the Chief Officer with the VHA Office of Women’s Health. We are here to answer any questions you may have about women’s health at the VA, how to get your needs met, and how to get connected with resources.
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Cpl Jo Goodwin
Cpl Jo Goodwin
5 mo
Hi Patty, I would very much like more information on the resources available at the VA for Women specifically within the Long Beach VA system and local surrounding areas. I would like to know how to advocate for myself within this system as it has been challenging to get timely care or any care at all at times. It is especially stressful when you are in the midst of an illness and trying to obtain care. Thank you for your time!
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Cpl Jo Goodwin
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Our conversation should include concern over medical personnel persistent need to diagnose physical medical conditions as a psychiatric disorders for women. Its a very unsettling experience and causes frequent delays in needed medical treatment.
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SrA Jan Hernandez
SrA Jan Hernandez
5 mo
PO3 Laura Mazucca No disrespect but when you say that we women should not have been let in to the military until proper care was completely thought out… I mean, seriously, you do realize we’ve been a part of the military since WW2, right? And we were glad to have worn the uniform. Yes, I know what you’re talking about. I was married for 43 years to an abusive (also military) husband. And was offered the same group therapy (I declined). I took them up on one-on-one. But I joined in 1974, and all the forums, and groups, and different avenues for complaints that we have now? Didn’t exist then. At. All. Takes a long time for things to change, but they do change.
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SPC Crystal Ellington
SPC Crystal Ellington
5 mo
Cpl Jo Goodwin could you say more about specific instances or examples of physical medical conditions being treated as psychiatric disorders?
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SrA Bich Thuy Callens
SrA Bich Thuy Callens
5 mo
I find that autoimmune symptoms, persistent women's health issues, and long-term tbi (traumtic brain injury) symptoms are not acknowledged nor assessed well with the typical tests given, thus you are left with "all your tests are normal". When in actuality there is a very narrow range of testing options offered and very little support, other than a push towards a depression/anxiety diagnosis, to pursue the root cause of symptoms.
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Cpl Jo Goodwin
Cpl Jo Goodwin
5 mo
SPC Crystal Ellington - Yes, it is an unfortunately, a very common scenario, although I know that it is vehemently denied by the VA. The situation commonly occurs when doctors do not know what is wrong with you and before any testing occurs for your specific illness. For example, during my visit to a VA Medical Facility for physical symptoms and related illness, after explaining to the Doctor my symptoms, she examined me and showed immediate concern and ordered a myriad of tests, however, she did not offer any medications to treat any of my symptoms. However, afterward, she immediately ushered me into the VA psychiatrist's office where upon a very brief conversation (about 15 minutes) with a psychiatrist, I was given immediate prescriptions for several medications. It is common to feel upset when suffering with physical medical conditions and related illnesses, doctors at the VA and everywhere else have a duty to treat our medical conditions. I was told on a subsequent visit by medical personnel at the facility whose name I will not disclose to seek care outside the system when I explained to them my experience and visibly showed them my body which evidenced the symptoms. Ultimately, I had to seek care elsewhere because I would not be here had I waited to fight for timely care at the VA.
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