Older Female Veterans/Continuing Resolution/ Woman’s Opinion
By – Sheri de Grom
Congress has had a hard time doing its job for decades.
From time to time they pass legislative funding that covers only a short period. Are they afraid they’ll have buyer’s remorse if they fund government for an entire year?
What they are doing is called a continuing resolution and in my opinion, an unacceptable practice.
I talked last week about healthcare improving for younger female veterans. However, there wasn’t enough funding to include the broad range of women Veterans populating the needs we have today.
The 20 years I worked for the government, I had to turn in a complete yearly business plan with a profit and loss statement. I made sure I never had a loss and I budgeted close to the ‘bone.’ Neither did I believe in rushing out to spend left over money in the final quarter to use up all the money appropriated my account. This is a bad business practice; one carried out by thousands of department heads government-wide.
For a large government agency to operate within the bounds of a continuing resolution is idiotic at best and a ‘perfect storm’ for management. Although directors of programs, such as mine, were required to complete a yearly business plan, I never knew how much money I had to operate my department for a full year.
I cannot depart this subject of continuing resolution without mentioning the harm it does to the morale of employees. Year after year employee job security is damaged and that damage is cumulative.
For the purposes of this blog, older female veterans deserve better than patchwork funding for the care they rely on. [All Veterans deserve equality within the Veterans Affairs Administration).
The Veterans Administration has known for decades that older women veterans present unique challenges but they turned their collective heads and minds to look the other way. They knew the improvements they were making would improve healthcare for younger Veterans but not the female Veterans of Vietnam and Korea.
Shurhonda Love, DAV Assistant National Legislative Director, opined, “We’ve known for a long time how different the medical needs are of women veterans compared to the general population of women. Now we have the data to back it up and ideally for the future of women veteran’s healthcare.”
Women Veterans who served in Korea and Vietnam are facing special challenges as they grow older. There’s a wide discrepancy in the needs between aging women veterans and non-veteran women.
Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reports women veterans 80 years of age and older reported significantly lower-scale scores in perceived health, physical function, life satisfaction, social support, quality of life, and purpose in life compared with non-veterans of the same age.
Older women have a problem getting service-connected care or disability because they never went to the doctor when they were on active duty. It was taboo to go to medical call if they planned on having a career in the military. At best, it would be 2 or 3 years between sick call visits.
This population deserves the attention of The Veterans Administration. I propose by age 65, if a female veteran has not determined her eligibility for services with the VA, the VA provide, at no cost, a representative to walk her through the system to determine her eligibility for care.
If eligibility for care is identified, the VA representative will register the woman through the “My Healthy Vet” at www.myhealth.va.gov. This site is where everything begins within The Veterans Administration for a veteran. I propose The Veterans Affairs representative be free to continue to work with many others needing assistance.
Tom and I together have registered many veterans [both men and women] and the time involved to reach that first appointment is a small investment considering the difference in lifestyle it provides veterans.
The appointment with the primary care physician should include all labs, x-rays and appointments with specialists.
Our female veterans do not deserve to be homeless and without medical care. The Veterans Administration has a place for them. Let’s give them their fair due and welcome them home properly.
Thank you for reading with me.