Do women have a special perspective on health care?

Let me count the ways! 

Some perspectives are not at all welcome ones, as we point out here, for example.  And another recent example is found at Ms.  As the Associated Press reports, a  recent study sees discrepancies in VA care for women:

Health care for female military veterans lags behind the care offered to male vets at many VA facilities, an internal agency report says, even as women are serving on front lines at historic levels.

There are clear needs for more physicians trained in women’s care and more equipment to meet women’s health needs, said Friday’s review by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It did add that strides are being made, such as creating onsite mammography services and establishing women’s clinics at most VA medical centers. The department also is attempting to recruit more clinicians with training in women’s care.

For now, female veterans aren’t getting the same quality of outpatient care as men in about one-third of the VA’s 139 facilities that offer it, the report said. That appeared to validate the complaints of advocates and some members of Congress who have said more emphasis needs to be placed on women’s health.


Let’s hope no one reading this article thinks that somehow understanding the male body is just understanding the human body.  Women, who are over 50% of the US/worldwide population, are not some sort of strange creatures, despite the years and years in which medical research tended to privilege research involving male subjects. 

But some of the news  is surprisingly good:

The VA’s review noted that other studies have found better surgical outcomes and decreased mortality for women at VA hospitals compared to women who receive care under the Medicare Advantage Program or under private care. And, performance of breast and cervical cancer screening exceeds that of commercial and some government plans.

But also mixed:

Data were not available to compare the inpatient quality of care between men and women.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who is on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement that the findings confirm what she has been hearing from women veterans for years.

She encouraged passage of legislation that would, among other things, force the agency to do comprehensive studies of women veterans’ care and conduct a pilot program providing child care for veterans seeking mental health care.

Among the other findings of new report:

_Older and younger veterans appear to be receiving the same quality of care;

_About 86 percent of homeless veterans seen by VA received primary care, mental health care and/or substance abuse services;

_About 98 percent of appointments were completed within 30 days in primary care clinics and about 97 percent were completed during that period at specialty clinics;

_Overall quality of care appears to be good when reviewed using commonly accepted health care benchmarks;

_Minority veterans surveyed were generally less satisfied with inpatient and outpatient care than white veterans, but it wasn’t clear if the quality of care offered was different. A more comprehensive study of care for minority veterans is expected to be complete this summer.

5 thoughts on “Do women have a special perspective on health care?

  1. The VA is trying to avoid treating female veterans. The percentage of disabled female veterans actually receiving medical and/or psychological care from the VA is extremely low because we’re constantly reminded and made to feel discomfort.

    I have been service connected at 100% for nearly 19 years now. And I haven’t received any medical help from the VA in any way since my kidney failure in 2003 and additional five major surgeries. The VA ER turned me away while en-route to and in critical condition…all because the VA had no female nurse on duty. She was on leave for two weeks and the VA ER male nurse told the paramedic to bring me back in two weeks.

    With a blood pressure of 56 over 40, veins flat-lined, in acute kidney failure and having massive bleeding and in need of a blood transfusion…I didn’t have two weeks to wait. I HAD to get private hospital care and 5 emergency surgeries over the following 18 months.

    Now (because I had to use credit cards to pay for my medical care and then re-finance to a consolidation loan)…I’m in debt so badly that my credit has been frozen for 7 years. And I can’t barely afford my present medical care. If I stop my medical treatments and medicine, I will surely only have days to live.

    Does any honorably discharged veteran having served her country for six years (half of which was in a war zone) deserve such INHUMANE medical neglect????

    Not only does the VA need to change to accommodate female veterans. The VAs need to get it’s head out of the 1950s and realize that women are fast becoming a strong force to reckon with and we want equal opportunities to needed health and psychological care!!! It’s only fair and we earned that entitled right to good medical care.

    Screw the good ole boy system!!! I’ve survived many life threatening conditions and I am here to stay no matter what the VA does to threaten me!!!

    I will remain anonymous for safety concerns…

  2. travelvet, I worried when I was reading the Press report that there was some whitewashing going on. Their examples were pretty mild compared to your genuinely shocking experiences. Thank you.

  3. Travelvet’s story made me realise that in all those “Bush visits wounded vets” stories, and all the other MSM tales of wounded vets, we never ever see a woman. Hmmmm. Healthcare in the U.S. is a such a nightmare. I admire your spirit Travelvet. This will sound cheesy, but do you have a decent member of Congress who might help? I know, I know — unlikely. Sadly, it’s all I can think of besides the media, which I can imagine your not wanting to go that ghastly route. On another issue, does anyone know if the VA provides abortion services? I know U.S. military women stationed overseas cannot get abortions at base medical facilities — it’s forbidden. Female servicemembers have to take leave and fly back the mainland to a non-military clinic — all on their own dime of course.

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