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Women Veterans Town Hall recap and resources

The Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (CMCVAMC) hosted a Women Veterans Town Hall on March 29, 2022. The event featured remarks from the Medical Center Director, a panel of women Veterans, and officials from the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Cemetery Administration.

We are happy to be able to share a recording of the town hall, answers to questions asked during the event, and resources for local women Veterans.


Instructions for Accessing the Recording

To access the recording, click here or copy and paste the following link into your web browser: https://bit.ly/3ratwqi

After clicking the link or copying it into your web browser, you should see the Microsoft Teams website. 

You have the option to download the Microsoft Teams App (purple button on the left) or watch the recording on the web (white button on the right). If you already have the Microsoft Teams App but the recording did not automatically launch, click the small purple text that reads, "Launch it now."

The recording will begin to play and you have the ability to pause, rewind, or fast forward through the event. 

If you are unable to reach the Microsoft Teams website, please close your browser and try the link again. If you are still unable to access the recording, restart your computer and try the link again.

If you have questions about accessing the recording, email Aubrey McQueen at aubrey.mcqueen@va.gov


Town Hall Comments, Questions & Answers

Health Equity

How can women get the same respect as male counterparts, especially when getting blood work or X-rays at the facility?

At CMCVAMC, our staff works hard to ensure all Veterans receive the utmost respect and the highest level of care. If you feel that our staff has not afforded you the respect and level of care you deserve, we encourage you to reach out to the Patient Advocate at 215-823-5803. You may also send a secure message to the Patient Advocate through My HealtheVet. 

Military Sexual Trauma

What is the Philadelphia VA doing to support female Veterans who are survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST)?

Military Sexual Trauma can be a very difficult life experience, but recovery is possible, and the VA offers a range of services to MST survivors no matter where they are in their recovery. The following treatment is offered at CMCVAMC:

  • Free treatment for any physical or mental health conditions related to experiences of MST. No documentation of the MST experience or VA disability compensation rating is required to get treatment. Some individuals can receive this free MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA care.
  • An MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues and who can assist you with accessing care. For questions about treatment and health care options related to MST, contact Dr. Louis Rivera, MST Coordinator, at 215-823-5800 ext. 204755. Our female co-coordinator for MST is currently on extended leave. If you do not feel comfortable talking to Dr. Rivera, please contact the Patient Advocate so they may arrange an alternative solution.
  • MST-related outpatient services
  • MST-related outpatient counseling is also available through the local Vet Center.
  • For Veterans needing more intensive treatment and support, VA also provides MST-related mental health treatment in residential or inpatient settings.
  • Veterans may also ask to meet with a clinician of a particular gender if it would help them feel more comfortable.
  • Beyond MST Mobile AppFree, secure, and private self-help mobile app created specifically to support the health and well-being MST survivors.

My HealtheVet

Sometimes I just want to remind my neurologist to renew my prescriptions; however, My HealtheVet (MHV) does not allow me to securely message my neurologist, only my primary caregiver. Is there anything that can be done to fix this?

For assistance with MHV, please contact Senior MHV Coordinator Yvette Roberts at 215-823-4488.

National Cemetery Administration

How can we get more information on cemetery burial?

For information on burial benefits, visit Burial Benefits - National Cemetery Administration (va.gov) or call 800-698-2411.

Does the free burial include a cremation?

The VA does not pay for cremation directly. Any item or service obtained from a funeral home will be at the families' expense. Some Veterans' families may be entitled to a burial allowance, which may cover some of these expenses.

Are we eligible for a free headstone?

Find out how to apply for a headstone, grave or niche marker, or medallion to honor a Veteran, service member, or eligible family member by visiting Veterans Headstones, Markers, And Medallions | Veterans Affairs (va.gov).

Veterans Benefits Administration

I have injuries to my hand and arms, and I am currently trying to get Social Security Disability Insurance. In the event I get denied, where can I find help for the possibility of returning to work and being retrained into a job that accommodates my injuries?

If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, Veteran Readiness and Employment (formerly called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) can help. This program helps you explore employment options and address education or training needs. For more information, visit Veteran Readiness And Employment (VR&E) | Veterans Affairs (va.gov) or call 800-827-1000.

Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission

The recommendations from the AIR commission speak of a strategic partnership with UPenn or building a new VAMC. Is a partnership a likely solution? If not, where would this new site be located? How will Philly vets be impacted?

The VA asked: “What's best for the Veterans we serve?” because that is our number one goal, today and every day. The result of asking ourselves that question repeatedly is a set of recommendations that will help us build a health care network with the right facilities, in the right places, to provide the right care for all Veterans. Additionally, the recommendations offer a means of strengthening our roles as the leading health care researchers in America and with our academic partnerships to remain the leading care training institution in America. That said, it's too early to know exactly what or where impacts might be, so in the short run, AIR will have no impact on the services we provide to Veterans.

Is the Philadelphia VA going to join with the Coatesville VA?

It is too early to know exactly which locations and exactly what services will be impacted by the AIR Commission process. Many of the potential changes to the VA's health care infrastructure may be several years away and are dependent on Commission, Presidential, and Congressional decisions, as well as robust stakeholder engagement and planning. The VA will maintain transparency, provide updates on the AIR Commission process, and ensure you have ample opportunity for your voice to be heard as the AIR Commission continues its work through the next years.

Will the new building have more modalities, such as massage, acupuncture, yoga, etc.?

The CMCVAMC currently offers a wide variety of complementary and integrative approaches like acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and more. For more information, call 215-823-5800 or contact your primary care provider.


Resources for Women Veterans

The following list of resources was provided by town hall attendees. To contribute to this list, please contact Women Veteran Program Manager Julie Allen at julie.allen@va.gov.

Veterans Service Organizations - Philadelphia Regional Office (va.gov)
To become a VSO representative, visit Accredited Representatives Home (va.gov)

Veterans & Gardening, Learning to Grow Hope - Heroic Gardens

WoVeN I Women Veterans Network I (wovenwomenvets.org)

Wounded Warrior Project - Philadelphia Chapter | Facebook

Shamrock Reins | Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies for Veterans

Women Veterans Center - VMC Center (vmcenter.org)

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