What is VA Women’s Health Transition Training?
In response to research indicating female Veterans enroll in VA health care at lower numbers than male Veterans, the VA-DoD Health Executive Committee (HEC) Women’s Health Workgroup convened women’s health leaders from DoD, VA, the military services, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Services (USUHS) to discuss the challenges for service women transitioning to civilian life, as well as the benefits to Women Veterans and the taxpayer by increasing the number of women Veterans who enroll and utilize VA women’s health services. Timely enrollment and utilization of VA’s mental health services can prevent suicide and other mental health sequelae resulting from undiagnosed and treatment of depression and PTSD. In addition, enrollment and use of VA health care ensures that reproductive and maternity care as well as routine gender specific cancer screenings and follow up are continued without interruption once women leave military service.
What We Did and Results Achieved
In response to this need, HigherEchelon created an award-winning pilot of a women’s health workshop as part of the VA transition assistance program for servicewomen transitioning from military to civilian life. According to VA:
“Starting in June 2019, transitioning service women from the Army, Navy and Marines participated in the pilot program. By December 2019, 669 service women from all military services had participated in either one of the 74 in-person sessions or one of the 10 virtual sessions.
Furthermore, the participants who have since separated from the military enrolled in VA at a rate 114% higher than the average enrollment rate for Woman Veterans from the previous year with an associated decrease of 67% in median time to enrollment over the baseline. The WHTT pilot caught the attention of Congress, the media, and Veteran Service and Advocacy organizations. Thus, the VA/DoD Joint Executive Committee voted to make this program a permanent offering by the VA.”
HigherEchelon consultants continue to serve in this expanding program to help ensure that transitioning servicewomen and Veterans are fully aware of: 1) their eligibility for VA health care, 2) the range of women’s health and mental health care services and benefits that are available to them, 3) the transformed culture of the VA health care system from male patients only to both male and female patients, 4) the importance about being proactive about one’s health and health care, 5) the importance of uninterrupted delivery of care for mental health issues, contraception, pregnancy and gender specific cancer screenings, etc., 6 ) how to enroll in VA health care, 7) and the locations of VA sites of care around the country.