Frequently Asked Questions - Health Care
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- What health care services are available to women Veterans?
- Does VA provide maternity benefits?
- Does VA provide gynecologic care for menstrual problems and services such as Pap smears and birth control? What about breast care such as mammograms and breast cancer treatments?
- Does VA offer In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)? Infertility treatment?
- Does VA cover newborn care?
- How do I get started with getting my health care in VA?
- Does VA provide child care services and does VA provide health care for my children?
- How can I get help if I am in crisis or to help another Veteran who is?
- Where can I get inpatient psychiatric care as a woman Veteran?
- Where can I get treatment for conditions related to combat trauma, sexual assault, or sexual harassment I experienced while in the military?
- How do I get evaluated for nursing home care?
- What is the process of getting quality of care issues addressed?
1. What health care services are available to women Veterans?
A full continuum of health care, including comprehensive primary care (care for acute and chronic illness and gender-specific care), specialty care, mental health care, disease prevention and screening, emergency care, and women’s health specialty care (e.g., advanced breast and gynecological care, maternity care, and some infertility treatments). In addition, VA offers services such as inpatient medical/surgical/mental health care, physical rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment, long-term care, and pharmacy benefits. For more information on VA services provided to women Veterans, call 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636).
2. Does VA provide maternity benefits?
VA covers pregnancy care, typically through arrangements with community providers. VA will pay for prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care for eligible women Veterans. Contact a Women Veterans Program Manager at your local VA facility as early in pregnancy as possible to discuss local processes regarding prenatal care and to explore your options.
3. Does VA provide gynecologic care for menstrual problems and services such as Pap smears and birth control? What about breast care such as mammograms and breast cancer treatments?
VA provides women Veterans with a full range of reproductive health services necessary for optimal health throughout their lives, including the services above and more. Gynecology and maternity care are available either at your VA facility or through referrals to appropriate providers in the community. This referred care is covered by VA.
4. Does VA offer In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)? Infertility treatment?
The Federal Register published the interim final rule authorizing IVF on January 19, 2017 and the funds are authorized through September 30, 2018. The interim final rule authorizes IVF services for a Veteran with a service-connected disability that results in the inability of the Veteran to procreate without the use of fertility treatment. It also states that VA may provide fertility counseling and treatment using assisted reproductive technologies, including IVF, to a spouse of a Veteran with a service-connected disability that results in the inability of the Veteran to procreate without the use of fertility treatment. Under this program, VA will strive to restore the reproductive capabilities of these Veterans, improving their quality of life.
Currently, VA provides evaluation, management, and treatment of infertility in accord with generally accepted standards of medical practice, as part of the medical benefits package, including the following services:
|Diagnostic and treatment for female Veterans||Diagnostic and treatment for male Veterans|
|Infertility counseling||Infertility counseling|
|Laboratory blood testing||Laboratory blood testing|
|Genetic counseling and testing||Semen analysis|
|Pelvic and/or transvaginal ultrasound||Evaluation and treatment of erectile dysfunction|
|Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)||Surgical correction of structural pathology (i.e., varicocelectomy, Peyronie’s Repair, etc)|
|Saline infused Sonohysterogram||Vasectomy reversal (vasectomy, varicocelectomy, vasovasostomy)|
|Surgical correction of structural pathology consistent with standard of care including operative laparoscopy and operative hysteroscopy||Hormonal therapies (e.g. clomiphene citrate, HCG, PDE5 medications, testosterone)|
|Reversal of tubal ligation (Tubal Reanastomosis)||Sperm cryopreservation for medically indicated conditions|
|Hormonal therapies (Controlled ovarian hyper-stimulation)||Genetic counseling and testing|
|Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination (AI)||Sperm retrieval techniques|
|Medication for ovulation induction for IUI||Transrectal and/or scrotal ultrasonography|
|Injectable Gonadotropin Medications for ovulation induction|
Veterans may schedule appointments with their local health care system for eligibility determinations, clinical evaluation, consultation, and initial treatment. Assisted reproductive technology, including IVF, will be provided through community providers, however, many of the associated routine fertility services may still be provided in-house.
VA strongly encourages interested Veterans to start conversations with their VA healthcare provider to discuss eligibility and initial steps, as VA develops processes for providing IVF treatment in the community.
5. Does VA cover newborn care?
VA covers care to newborns for the first seven days after birth, for eligible women Veterans who are receiving VA maternity care.
6. How do I get started with getting my health care in VA?
After you have enrolled for health care benefits, contact your local VA health care facility to arrange a primary care appointment. Or you can call the Women Veterans Call Center to get connected with your local VA (1-855-829-6636).
7. Does VA provide child care services and does VA provide health care for my children?
VA is only authorized to provide child care services under a pilot program at four select VA facilities. Facilities providing child care are: Northport, New York; Buffalo, New York; Dallas, Texas; and American-Lake, Washington.
The provision of health care to children of Veterans is limited to those instances where specific authority is given to VA by law. Contact your nearest VA health care facility and ask to speak with the Women Veterans Program Manager. Also, you can find out if your child qualifies for health care through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in your state, see or call 1-877-543-7669.
8. How can I get help if I am in crisis or to help another Veteran who is?
9. Where can I get inpatient psychiatric care as a woman Veteran?
VA considers mental health emergencies with the same urgency as any other health emergency and we are committed to providing emergency mental health care when it is needed. Inpatient mental health programs address acute mental health concerns with a focus on stabilization in a safe and secure environment. Most VA Medical Centers have inpatient mental health programs. If your local facility does not have an inpatient mental health program, your facility will arrange for you to receive inpatient care at another VA or a local facility in the community. There are many options for seeking inpatient services. If you need urgent or emergent care, you can go to your VA Emergency Department, Urgent Care Center or Mental Health Clinic. If your facility does not have an Emergency Department or Urgent Care Center or you cannot get to a local facility, you can call 911 or the VA Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.
VA also offers a full continuum of Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs (MH RRTPs) sometimes referred to as Domiciliary programs. The MH RRTPs provide intensive treatment and rehabilitation for mental health, substance use disorder, and psychosocial concerns. VA offers specialized programs for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder, and homelessness. Some of the residential programs serve women only or have women-only treatment groups and serve as national referral sites. There also are many regional programs that have separate units and or wings for women Veterans.
Your VA Primary Care Provider, the facility Women Veterans Program Manager, or any of your providers can facilitate evaluation and referral for both inpatient or residential mental health services, so we encourage you to consult with them at any time.
10. Where can I get treatment for conditions related to combat trauma, sexual assault, or sexual harassment I experienced while in the military?
Every VA medical center has providers who are knowledgeable about the aftereffects of trauma and evidence-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder and other conditions related to trauma.
Veterans who experienced combat trauma can access treatment at any VA medical center and most community-based outpatient clinics by asking their VA provider for a referral for mental health treatment or by contacting the Women Veterans Program Manager. Combat trauma-related counseling is also available at Vet Centers.
VA uses the term “military sexual trauma” (MST) to refer to sexual assault or sexual harassment experienced during military service. At the VA, Veterans can receive free, confidential treatment for mental and physical health conditions related to MST. These services are available at every VA healthcare facility and at Vet Centers. You may be able to receive this MST-related care even if you are not eligible for other VA services. You do not need a VA service-connected disability rating, to have reported the incident when it happened, or have other documentation that it occurred. Although eligibility for MST-related treatment is entirely separate from the disability claims process, Veterans can also apply for service connection or disability compensation for injuries or illnesses related to MST. To receive MST-related care, ask your VA provider for a referral for MST services, contact the MST Coordinator at your local VA Medical Center, or contact your local Vet Center. More information is available at VA MST website.
11. How do I get evaluated for nursing home care?
If you have never been seen at a VA health care facility, you must first enroll for benefits. Then, you must enroll in a primary care clinic and ask for an evaluation for nursing home care. The evaluation will be done either by the primary care provider or a geriatrics care team.
12. What is the process of getting quality of care issues addressed?
Contact the Women Veterans Program Manager or Patient Advocate at your local VA health care facility (white pages under U.S. Government, Department of Veterans Affairs or online) or call the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636).