Titus, Costello Lead Bipartisan Letter Calling for a Review of Services for Female Veterans

Mar 12, 2015
Press Release
Letter to Deputy Inspector General of the VA requesting review of policies to better identify the needs of female veterans

March 12, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) and Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA) of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs led a letter to Richard Griffin, Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs, requesting a review of VA and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) policies to better identify the needs of female veterans.

Female veterans represent 10% of the population served by the VA, and that figure is expected to grow significantly. According to the Disabled American Veterans’ recent report, “Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home,” 20% of new recruits are female, along with 14.5% of the active duty component and 18% of the reserve components. Close to 200,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet recent reports indicate that the VA drastically underserves our female veterans.

“Female veterans, like all veterans, deserve access to quality healthcare,” said Congresswoman Titus, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. “Unfortunately, recent reports have highlighted chronic problems that are compromising this care, including a lack of women’s health providers, problems with the coordination of care, and inappropriate treatment. With the percentage of women veterans seeking care from the VA likely to increase, it is imperative that the VA modernize its services to adapt to the unique needs of our nation’s female heroes. I look forward to receiving the results of the Inspector General's review, and working with my colleagues on the committee to ensure our female veterans receive the care and support they earned through their service to our country."

“With each year, the number of female veterans returning home increases,” said Congressman Ryan Costello. “As a result, we need to honor our commitment to them and ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs is able to provide them with the appropriate care they deserve. That’s why I’m pleased to join Congresswoman Titus in this effort to call on the office of the VA Inspector General to review existing policies, practices, and procedures at the VA to ensure we’re doing all we can to meet the needs of female veterans. I look forward to working with Congresswoman Titus, Chairman Miller, and the rest of my colleagues on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to address this important issue.”

 

The full text of the letter can be found here:

Dear Mr. Griffin,

Female veterans are the fastest growing population served by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Women currently comprise about 10% of the population of the VA, but are about 20% of the active duty components. It is critical that the VA and especially the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are prepared to serve the unique needs of female veterans.

To help the VA and Congress better identify the needs of female veterans utilizing health care services at VHA, we respectfully request that you conduct an inspection into policies designed to meet the needs of female veterans.

Specifically, we ask that you review and make recommendations to improve the following:

  • The efficacy of VHA’s stated privacy standards for female veterans.
  • VHA’s compliance with their stated privacy standards for female veterans (including physical requirements such as sound and vision barriers).
  • The ability of VHA to provide gender specific care for female veterans, including basic and complex gynecological services.

Thank you for consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Dina Titus (NV-01), Ryan Costello (PA-06), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Kathleen Rice (NY-04), Mike Coffman (CO-06), Ralph Abraham (LA-05), Mark Takano (CA-41), Tim Walz (MN-01), and Raul Ruiz (CA-36)

Members of Congress