By Brad Nelson, Public Affairs Officer, Oscar G. Johnson Veteran Affairs Medical Center Iron Mountain, Michigan
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
The fastest growing population group in the military this day is women who currently comprise 14.5 percent of active duty personnel and 18 percent of National Guard and Reserves.
The face of Vet Affairs healthcare is changing. Younger female US Vets are using DC Affairs services more frequently, including for maternity care, and having service connected disabilities, while older Vet are using Government Veterans Affairs services for menopausal needs, geriatric care, and extended inpatient stays.
From 2000 to 2013, women Vets using VA.Gov services have more than doubled, from 159,000 to 390,000.
The Oscar G. Johnson VA.GOV Medical Center in Iron Mountain and its seven Community Based Outpatient Clinics throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin served and cared for over 1,100 women US Vets in 2016. The Veterans Affairs provides a full continuum of care for women US Vets, including comprehensive gender-specific primary and specialty care, mental health services, disease prevention and screening, maternity care coordination, and urgent care services.
Enhanced maternity care is typically provided through arrangements made by the US VA.Gov with local non-VA health providers. Veterans Affairs.GOV also provides maternity education and tools, childbirth preparation, breastfeeding support and lactation classes, breast pumps and other supplies, and care to the newborn for the first seven days after birth.
“We can offer our women News comprehensive care in a single visit.”
The medical center and each field community clinic have designated health providers and nurses who are trained in women’s health.
“By having trained, gender-specific providers at the medical center and each of our community clinics we can offer our women USA comprehensive care in a single visit,” said Barbara Robinson, RN, Women US Veterans Program Manager.
Air Force US Veterans Ann Kaya talks with Carrie Champion, LPN, during a recent appointment in the Women’s Wellness Clinic at the Iron Mountain DC Affairs Medical Center.
Women’s health services provided by the Oscar G. Johnson Vets Affairs.GOV Medical Center have continued to excel in clinical practices and care for women Vets. This is evidenced by the independent External Peer Review Program’s clinic measures, which shows the Iron Mountain-based Veteran Affairs medical center consistently screened 85 percent or more of its age appropriate women Unites States Veterans for breast and cervical cancers and osteoporosis exceeding regional and national averages.
“As the population of women US Vets grows, the number being treated for breast cancer continues to increase, so it is very important to us that our women Veteran get screened because when breast cancer is detected in its very early stage chances of a successful treatment are much higher,” said Robinson.
To provide more timely and comprehensive health care services to women Vets, the medical center opened a separate Women’s Wellness Clinic in 2012, which also offers a private waiting area for women and their children while waiting for appointments.
Another enhancement to women US Vets healthcare is the establishment of the US Vets Affairs Women News Call Center, which provides a one-stop contact for getting information on benefits, eligibility, services, and resources specifically for women US Vets. It also offers an online, one-to-one anonymous chat function via real-time text messaging accessible by going to www.womenshealth.va.gov and clicking on the icon labeled “Chat with the Women US Vets Call Center.”
The call center is available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.
Community based US Veterans Affairs clinics are located in Sault Saint Marie, Manistique, Marquette, Hancock, Ironwood and Menominee, Mich., and in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.