New Report Finds Lack Of Privacy In Female Veteran Health Care

news
Soldiers in their third trimester, the last three months of pregnancy, perform the designated stretches outlined by the Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training program Feb. 19, at Fort Hood, Texas.
Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 3rd BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.

In 2014, a study by the VA Inspector General found that 20.4% of community-based outpatient clinics run by the Veterans Health Administration failed to provide adequate privacy for female veterans.


That number dropped to 14.3% in 2015, but still has a ways to go, according to a new report released June 19.

The findings come amid rising concerns from veterans service organizations that more needs to be done to ensure adequate services are available for women who rely on the VA for health care.

“The Veterans Health Administration is a large organization and ongoing training is expected,”  Lou Celli, director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation at The American Legion National HQ, told Task & Purpose. “There are more women veteran specific clinics at VA medical centers today than ever before and while still not perfect, with the proper funding, we are confident that VA will be able to provide appropriate gender specific facilities at all VA medical locations.”

In 2014, nearly 8% of doors did not have manual or electronic door locks for the examination rooms used for women veterans, and that number only went down a few points to 5.4% in 2015. And 16 of the 93 clinics had physical settings where gowned female veterans couldn’t access restrooms without entering public areas, with “no alternative measures were in place“ in 2014; in 2015, the number dropped to four.

Still, much of the gender-specific medical care required by female veterans is carried out within VHA facilities, meaning regardless of the privacy issues, more women are trusting the VA to handle their health care needs.

The report found that 82.5% of of gender-specific care visits occurred within VA facilities, while only 17.5% were handled outside. Pregnancy was the one exception.

“We also noted that patients with pregnancy-related issues had the majority of their visits at non-VA sites rather than VA sites, [but] this was the only subcategory of gender-specific care where we found this to be true,” the report reads.

While there is still need for further improvement, VHA appears to have taken some steps to ensure that it is better at addressing the needs of its female veterans, who make up about 10% of the overall veteran population. That number is expected to grow as women currently represent nearly 15% of service members.

The report did not have any specific criticisms for VHA; however, it did recommend that the VA’s acting under secretary for health, Dr. Poonam Alaigh, review and update the requirements for female veteran providers and make note of how and when those requirements are met by VA facilities.

“[We will continue] to evaluate the quality, access, and availability of safe and appropriate healthcare for women and are very pleased with the progress that VA has made over the years,” Celli added.

WATCH MORE:

Saudi air force Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani (NBC News)

The Saudi military officer who shot and killed 3 people at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday reportedly hosted a "dinner party" the week before the attack "to watch videos of mass shootings," the Associated Press reports, citing an unnamed U.S. official.

Read More Show Less
Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) hold folded flags before military funeral honors. (U.S. Army/Elizabeth Fraser)

The Minnesota National Guard has released the names of the three soldiers killed in Thursday's helicopter crash.

Read More Show Less
Joshua Kaleb Watson (Facebook via Business Insider)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Joshua Kaleb Watson has been identified as one of the victims of a shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, CBS News reported.

The 23-year-old Alabama native and Naval Academy graduate was named to the Academy's prestigious Commandant's and Dean's lists, and also competed on the rifle team, Alabama's WTVY reported.

Read More Show Less
The main gate at Naval Air Station Pensacola is seen on Navy Boulevard in Pensacola, Florida, U.S. March 16, 2016. Picture taken March 16, 2016. (U.S. Navy/Patrick Nichols/Handout via Reuters)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Navy pledged Friday to find ways to upgrade security procedures and prevent future attacks following two shootings and a fatal gate runner incident at naval bases in Virginia, Hawaii and Florida in the last week.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also announced he is "considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families," although he did not give details.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Jamarius Fortson)

The Navy has identified the two Defense Department civilians who were killed in a shooting Wednesday at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.

Read More Show Less