VA’s New Hotline Dedicated to Serving Women Veterans

As part of VA’s goal to implement improvements to its health care for women Veterans, we recently launched our new Women Veterans hotline—1-855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636)—an incoming call center that receives and responds to questions from women Veterans, their families, and caregivers across the nation about available VA services and resources.

Over the past decade, the number of women using VA health care has more than doubled, from nearly 160,000 to more than 360,000 in 2012. Women now make up 15 percent of active duty and 18 percent of Guard/Reserves service members. Based on the upward trend of women in all branches of service, the number of women Veterans and female VA users is expected to double again in the next decade.

While the number of women VA users continues to grow, women comprise only six percent of VA’s total patient population. We have found that women Veterans underutilize VA care, largely due to a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services. In response, we established an outbound Call Center in 2010 to contact women Veterans and encourage them to try VA care. This service has been expanded, and telephone agents now receive incoming calls and inquiries about VA care and other services for women.

“The Women Veterans Call Center is aimed at increasing women Veterans’ knowledge of all VA services and benefits that they deserve,” said Krista Stephenson, an Army Veteran and our current Women Veterans Call Center Director.

All our telephone agents have received training regarding services that the VA provides for women Veterans. They are informed about eligibility, benefits, health care and other services, and can route calls within VA when needed. These trained VA employees can also respond to crisis situations such as suicidal behavior, homelessness, sexual trauma, and domestic violence.

1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636) provides a single avenue for women Veterans to get the help they need.

“They just have the one number to call and our telephone agents will be able to direct them appropriately and to provide them the information that they need,” said Stephenson. “We also have established agreements for warm handoffs to VA programs such as the Veterans Crisis Line and the Caregiver Support Line. We are also working collaboratively with other VA Departments for those Veterans who have questions regarding VA benefits and health eligibility.”

In cases where the Call Center transfer callers to other VA offices, our telephone agents are instructed to follow-up within 30 days to ensure that women Veterans received the services they needed. This is just one way that we ensure our beneficiaries do not fall through the cracks.

We hope to meet the unique needs of women Veterans by delivering the highest quality of health care to each woman, while offering privacy, dignity, and sensitivity to gender-specific needs. VA provides a full continuum of care, including comprehensive primary care, mental health services, as well as emergency and specialty care. In addition, VA provides gynecology services, maternity care, caregiver support, crisis support and help for homeless Veterans. With one phone call, women Veterans can discover all the VA has to offer. For more information, please click here.

Patricia M. Hayes is the Chief Consultant for Women’s Health Services (WHS) for VA, advocating for and overseeing the delivery of VA health care services for more than 360,000 women Veteran health care users.

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10 Comments to “VA’s New Hotline Dedicated to Serving Women Veterans”

  1. David Evernham says:

    This is one sided. I filed a claim for benefits over two years ago, even went to a local VA office for PTSD. I get nothing. They just keep sending me snail mail asking for more info, that I have already provided. I even went to a VetCenter, once they found out that I had attempted suicide. They bounced me. I seen a private physcologist for about a year and had to quit, cause I had frurlough days at my found and couldn’t afford the co pays any more. I get anti depressant meds through my private doctor cause VA won’t do anything for me. You all make a a program just for women and follow up, but leave some of us out to dry.

  2. Rhonda Hollis says:

    The VA hospital in Oklahoma city, OK has a female clinic, for several years now. I did, at first, went to a male provider. He was good for me, but when they said they are opening a women’s clinic, I switch, I am getting great service but I think the female doctors are nearly stress out by all they are doing for the women. There are only two doctors who are helping in this clinic and I am very glad that there is a email service for answering questions and setting appointments because it gives faster service!

  3. LT Paige Novosat says:

    This is so wonderful. Finally a Women’s Veterans hotline. It gets pretty ridiculous when the other hotlines do not believe the woman is the veteran. It is just assumed that the man must be the veteran. This is long overdue. It also gets frustrating when “they” call you sir instead of ma’am. Really? I sound and/or look like a man. Thank you for whomever had this novelty idea! :-)

  4. Christy Gein says:

    Interesting

  5. LaVetta Williams says:

    I have tried several times to get assistance from the local VA clinic in Perry, GA and Macon, GA. Everytime I meet with the customer service representatives that are ridiculously rude, don’t want to be bothered. I just gave up calling, and seeking assistance. What is it that you would do to help me that is different?

  6. Patty says:

    This is great that this has began for women. One thing I believe the VA needs to insure is that all the Women Veteran Program Managers be Veterans as if they are not, they do not realistically understand the perspective that women veterans- active, reserve, and NG – have and they should directly work for the top person at that VA Medical Center, so they are able to dialogue directly and frequently —and not through 3-5 echelons below the head of the hospital. And, the Women’s Advisory Council should consist of people who service the veterans. Finally, they should be required to attend the Advisory Council meetings on a regular basis.

    Overall, I would like to commend the health provided to me over the last 6 years. The doctors and counselors as well as the classes provided by the VA has truly made a difference in my health progress.

  7. Georgie says:

    I am an older female Army veteran and have TRIED to navigate our VA medical system for MANY YEARS! Very few of my experiences have been delightful and therefore my healthcare leaves a lot to be desired. I was one of the female vets who complained back in 1976 when I had to report to NYC VA for a C & P exam and they gave me a gown that left my entire back and rear end exposed. The VA has since changed their gowns to hide more of the female body…thank God. They then told me to go and sit in the hallway with all other guys on cold metal chairs. And I fought it because I knew it was not RIGHT. Please contact me at: femaleveteransunite@gmail.com to express your views so that we may get the proper medical treatments that we need. We ARE NOT MEN! I have been a female veteran advocate for years; but ladies what I have found is that women are the caregivers in our society. We take care of yourselves last and we “hide” out in our communities and keep ourselves busy with our families and their needs first. Please step out and be counted. The VA must make changes to keep up with the needs of our female veterans. I fear that a phone line is just ANOTHER way to divert us from accomplishing the goals that we have made for ourselves. There is so MUCH $$$ slated for “helping veterans”. But all that this $$$ has done for us is opened up a big SHARK TANK for the bigger sharks to come in and feed us empty words and big promises, and to spin us in circles for years to come. :(

  8. I'm Done says:

    We don’t need special hotline numbers to call! We need VA and their doctors to treat us with dignity! If I start ranting on here or on the “special women’s hotline” about how the Army, VA and their doctors have treated me you’d send the wagons with lights labeling me with a personality disorder along with my documented illnesses. And I still wouldn’t get the proper care or respect. We are just numbers to be manipulated for the politicians. I have advised my family if anything happens to me (suicide or medically) to look to the government for accountability. Sometimes, I’m sorry to say I served.

  9. This is another bad political joke. I have been in and out of homeless shelters for five times. I was even homeless on the Buffalo VA property. The federal goverment does not want to take any action against buisnesses, and corporations, even when hundreds of thousands of people die,, from workplace, and school bullying. The place that I am at now is in Cocoa, Florida, and it is run like a prison, we have teenage crimminals cooking our food, which at least seven women and their children have been ill from. We do not know it there is the teenagers bool, sputum or feces in the food. Cameras are on us, when we leave our jail cells, We do not have freedom of speech, or the pursuit of happiness, because the program manager is a control perons, that changes her mind every day, along with the rules. The program is not run to help us veterans, but to take away from our self esteem, and financial gain, is not possible here. We have asked for a womam female veteran to be on staff, and we just get lied too again, and again. The staff takes the food from the veterans, the excuse is that we can not leave, another indicator of the grant per diem program being run like a prison. Thank you. registered nurse of 14 years, Paramedic of 13 years, and eight years in the USAF, including served during Desert Storm.