Q/A from the Women Veteran Series chat events

Questions on business resources, yoga, acupuncture, military sexual trauma, claims, appeals, reproductive and women health services


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Download the new Women Veterans Health Services Quick Start Guide.

VA Deputy Secretary Pamela Powers recently hosted a series of chats and live events that focused on women Veterans and supporting the “Whole Woman Veteran.”

Topics included:

  • Mental Health & Suicide Prevention
  • Military Sexual Trauma
  • Reproductive Health
  • Caregiver Support
  • Survivor’s Assistance
  • Whole Health and Community Care
  • Benefits, Education, and Memorial Affairs
  • Employment and Small Business
  • Appeals
  • Military Spouse Resources

During the events, VA answered comments from its Facebook page. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions and VA responses. Watch the replay of these events.

Veteran Business Resources

Q: Can veterans with individual unemployability start business, are there special loans available to start businesses, how would one start? I want to start a ceramics/pottery business. Teaching others the therapeutic process of pottery and art.

A: If a Veteran is in receipt of Individual Unemployability (IU) and decides to start their own business, they may still qualify for IU if the income earned from the business is considered marginal. However, if the business generates high gross earnings, this would indicate the Veteran is capable of engaging in a substantially gainful occupation and therefore would no longer be entitled to IU. However, this would all depend on the Veteran’s disability rating and other factors. Give us a call at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. That way we can discuss your options.

Q: I am a 100% disabled vet. Is there any programs available to help with start-up funds for your business?

A: VA OSDBU doesn’t do startups, loans, grants, or how to start your business. Contact below: The appropriate agency for your request is the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA address is: U.S. Small Business Administration 409 3rd Street, SW Washington, DC 20416. You may also call the SBA Answer Desk at 1-800-827-5722 or send an email to answerdesk@sba.gov. I am including some websites that are valuable resources on how to acquire a grant. Small Business Administration (SBA): https://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/grants contains grant information. VA’s Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP): http://www.va.gov/osdbu/entrepreneur/index.asp provides direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship.

Q: I wanted to start a 3d printing business, but I don't know where to start I'm 100% is there any help for me?

A: VA OSDBU doesn’t do startups, loans, grants, or how to start your business. Contact below: The appropriate agency for your request is the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA address is: U.S. Small Business Administration 409 3rd Street, SW Washington, DC 20416 You may also call the SBA Answer Desk at 1-800-827-5722 or send an email to answerdesk@sba.gov. I am including some websites that are valuable resources on how to acquire a grant. Small Business Administration (SBA): https://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/grants contains grant information. VA’s Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP): http://www.va.gov/osdbu/entrepreneur/index.asp provides direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship.

Q: Can veterans with UE start businesses?

A: Please work/check with VA VBA VR&E to understand the specifics for starting a business when you have UE. There are specific criteria needed when you are UE and wanting to work.

Q: How can I get information on assistance with starting a Senior support home?

A: For starting a Senior Support home, please go to Grants.gov. There are numerous resources for supporting Veterans. Further please go to SBA.gov for starting a business.

Q: How can we contact those starting businesses in community services if we as vet woman would like to be a spokesperson, so we could help promote the business of helping others?

A: I would recommend reaching out to SBA for the assistance with the small business community. Although, we are available, our program is Veterans First. If you have questions, please contact us at 1–866–584–2344

Q: I qualify so how would I go about getting (Veteran owned business) verified? Can you provide a link?

A: Hi, Please call our Verification Team Call Center at (866) 584-2344, from Monday through Friday,8:00am to 6:00pm (Eastern), or via Email: vip@va.gov. Also, Status Updates: verificationfollowup@va.gov Profile Questions: vip@va.gov

Q: hello I am looking into buying into a franchise. IS it similar to opening your own business? what percentage of my own money do I need?

A: VA OSDBU does not have a franchising program; however, if you Want to be your own boss, but not willing to take on the risk of starting your own business from scratch? Franchising can be a great alternative if you want to have some guidance in the start-up phase of the business go to https://www.va.gov/OSDBU/entrepreneur/franchising.asp If you are looking to owner, start, grow and expand a small business, go to https://americassbdc.org/

Q: 100% Service Disabled Veteran, Woman and Minority owned business looking for additional resources to finance and promote business.

A: If you are looking to owner, start, grow and expand a small business, go to https://americassbdc.org/

VA Benefits and Claims

Q: I am a disabled veteran and was trying to get help paying for my school. Ended up having to pay for it myself. Is there any way to get reimbursed for this? (I got out in 98, so my GI Bill is unusable.)

A: There are several Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) that provide free, professional assistance to Veterans and their families. Many organizations have service officers in every state that can provide answers to questions about education benefits and federal student loans. To find a Veteran Service Officer near you click on the following link: https://www.va.gov/vso/.

Q: Is there a way to expedite obtaining records?

A: This depends on the type of records you are referring to. Some FOIA requests may qualify for expedited processing. VA has a decentralized system for fulfilling FOIA requests. For additional information, please visit https://www.va.gov/FOIA/Requests.asp.

Q: How do I get a representative? PLEASE .... NEED HELP!

A: For information on obtaining help regarding a VA claim, please visit https://www.va.gov/disability/get-help-filing-claim/. You may search for accredited attorneys, claims agents, or Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) Representatives in your area by visiting https://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp. For specific claim information, please give us a call at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Q: I have a question concerning reviewing files or the process when submitting a claim. I submitted a claim on July 26th 2020 and within 3 weeks or so I received a denial. No evaluation, just a denial. This certainly does not make me feel women’s claims are given due process.

A: If you need help filing a claim or appeal, you may want to work with an accredited attorney, a claims agent, or a Veterans Service Officer (VSO). We trust these professionals because they’re trained and certified in the VA claims and appeals processes and can help you with VA-related needs. VSOs work on behalf of Veterans and service members—as well as their dependents and survivors. Find out more about accredited representatives and how they can help you. https://www.va.gov/disability/get-help-filing-claim/

Q: I have non Hodgkin lymphoma and tried to get the VSO to have it placed in my file with the va he refused saying that if it goes into remission I would lose my hundred percent but won’t except the fact that non Hodgkin lymphoma doesn’t go into remission

A: In order to discuss your specific claim information, please give us a call at 800-827-1000. We would need to retrieve your electronic claims file to assist with detailed questions pertaining to your claim. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. Please note that based on the VA Rating Schedule (38 CFR Part 4), a 100-percent evaluation is assigned for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) when there is active disease, during treatment phase, or with indolent and non-contiguous phase of low grade NHL. The rating schedule further states that a 100-percent evaluation will continue after ending any surgical therapy, radiation therapy, antineoplastic chemotherapy, or other therapeutic procedures. However, two years after discontinuance of such treatment, the appropriate disability rating will be determined based on mandatory VA examination. The results from the mandatory VA examination would determine if any reduction in evaluation is warranted or if a 100-percent evaluation is to be continued. If there has been no recurrence, the rating specialist would assign an evaluation based on the residuals of the disease.

Appeals

Q: I have waited years for appeal and had a hearing over a year ago.

A: Appeals are completed in docket order as required by the law. After the hearing is held, the appeal is put on the docket of the Judge. You should contact your representative to check on the status or you can check the status of your appeal at https://www.va.gov/claim-or-appeal-status

Q: How do we appeal? Also, how long do we have to appeal after the incident?

A: Your claim decision letter outlines how to submit an appeal for your disagreement on VA’s decision on your claim. It also states that you have 365 days from the date of the decision to file an appeal before the claim decision is finalized. For more information, or for help or status on a current appeal, you can contact 1-800-827-1000 or visit the VA status tracker https://www.va.gov/claim-or-appeal-status/

Q: I need help doing my appeal - do you have some one to help me

A: VA encourages Veterans to work with Veteran Service Organizations for help with appeals. For more information on appeals, go to VA website at https://www.va.gov/decision-reviews. For help or status on your appeal, you can contact 1-800-827-1000 or visit the VA status tracker https://www.va.gov/claim-or-appeal-status/

Q: I've waited over 5 years for my appeal and had judge hearing over a year ago and still no answer

A: Appeals are completed in docket order as required by the law. After the hearing is held, the appeal is put on the docket of the Judge. You should contact your representative to check on the status or you can check the status of your appeal at https://www.va.gov/claim-or-appeal-status

Q: Is there a time suspense to file an appeal?

A: Yes, you have one year from the date of the claim decision to file an appeal. Please also check out more information about appeals at https://www.va.gov/decision-reviews

Q: How do we contact you or your people for appeals board

A: By Mail: Board of Veterans’ Appeals P.O. Box 27063 Washington, DC 20038. By Fax: 844-678-8979 (Toll Free)

Q: I just put in to get re-evaluated for mst and the evaluator I saw told me the ba is not approving them

A: You may be referring to disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs). Please be advised that in April 2020, VA discontinued making DBQs available to the public. All privately completed DBQs that continue to be submitted remain subject to validation to confirm the authenticity of the information provided. If, upon review of the DBQ, VA determines there is insufficient information to make a decision on the claim, VA may submit a request for a new VA examination. To discuss your specific claim, please give us a call at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. That way we can retrieve your claim status and provide specific information pertaining to your claim.

Q: have tried to contact a VSO and with the virus, all offices are closed. How do you find one??? So aggravating! I hope I filed my appeal with no help! I hope I did it right.

A: For help or status on your appeal, you can contact 1-800-827-1000 or visit the VA status tracker: https://www.va.gov/claim-or-appeal-status/

Q: Thank you for preparing this presentation. I have requested a virtual hearing. The VA office in the state of Alabama has been extremely difficult to connect to and process paperwork. I am grateful to the VA office in Nashville for their assistance filing appeal paperwork. This process is extremely slow and painful. I am thankful that you are proud of the work you are acccomplishing but I am still suffering from the lack of closure to my MST decision paperwork/ hearing addressing my MST dating back to my separation date. It is challenging to maintain hope with this limited communication and not even being able to find a representative to be available when my hearing date is finally scheduled. Would you please help me be prepared for my hearing so that a fib all resolution can be made after a 21 year losing battle.

A: If you navigate to your State Department of Veterans Affairs/Services you should be able to identify a contact us mechanism for a VSO to reach out to you. If this proves to be unsuccessful, there are many [national] Veteran Service Organizations that have the ability to assist you locally. A list of these organizations can be found on the office of general counsel’s web site: https://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp

Q: What about for the veterans that have been out for a while and they need help getting there are records but the records are missing they have applied for for VA benefits and they were turned down because they couldn’t find your records

A: VA does not maintain any historical military records, such as military units assigned to, dates and places of assignment, pay records, etc. For all information about military records, go to http://www.archives.gov/.

Women’s Health Care

Q: Why doesn’t the VA provide home health care anymore?

A: The Office of Community Care is continuing to offer Home Health services, for more information please see https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/providers/info_OtherCare.asp#hospice

Q: Is there a group at the VA to help female Marine Corps camp lejuene water victims with specific female disorders listed associated with the water exposure ?
Q: I need help with my fibromyalgia process

A: Reach out to the Women Veterans Call Center. 1-855-829-6636, 1-855-VA-WOMEN. All the representatives at the Women Veterans Call Center are women, and many are Veterans themselves. In addition to linking women Veterans to information, the Women Veterans Call Center makes direct referrals to Women Veteran Program Managers (WVPM) located at every VA medical center. The Women Veteran Program Manager helps the woman Veteran coordinate services.

Q: I’d like to hear if there is an organization for female vets in regards to domestic abuse

A: Thank you for asking this question. A good place to start is with the VHA Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program: https://www.socialwork.va.gov/IPV/Index.asp.

Q: What about mammograms?

A: As part of comprehensive care for women Veterans, VA offers mammography services either at the facility or in the community. If you need help getting connected to care, call the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-829-6636, 1-855-VA-WOMEN. All the representatives at the Women Veterans Call Center are women, and many are Veterans themselves. In addition to linking women Veterans to information, the Women Veterans Call Center makes direct referrals to Women Veteran Program Managers (WVPM) located at every VA medical center. The Women Veteran Program Manager helps the woman Veteran coordinate services. What will happen when I call the WVCC? You will be connected to a trained VA woman staff member. Call center staff will conduct a brief screening to assess your needs. Women Veterans will be provided personalized information regarding health care services, VA benefits and services, and a package of information will be sent to their home. You can call for yourself or for a women Veteran you know. The call is free and confidential. Contact information will be requested so staff may follow-up.

Q: It said help with fertility what about pregnant veterans is there anything you guys help provide?

A: Thank you for reaching out. Every VA offers maternity care coordination. VA Maternity Care Coordinators understand your needs and can support you through every stage of your pregnancy. Maternity Care Coordinators can help you navigate health care services both inside and outside of VA, access care for your other physical and mental health conditions, connect to community resources, cope with pregnancy loss, connect to needed care after delivery, and answer questions about billing. To find a VA Maternity Care Coordinator near you, talk to your VA provider. You can also call or text the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN to learn more about the services offered in your area.

Q: Who qualifies to receive services?

A: Thank you for reaching out. Every facility has a local Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM). WVPMs are available to assist women Veterans who have questions about VA health care services or resources and can help them get connected to care. For more information please call the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN. You will get connected to the right staff at your facility who can assist you.

Q: I have had two issues with women’s health care in the VA system. The handling of mammograms via outside sources that seem to have varied and no consistency which has caused me difficulty. Also treatment of menopause, was given no options, one size fits all.

A: Thank you for reaching out. The menopausal transition can be a challenging time for women. Evaluation and treatment for menopause symptoms starts with your Women’s Health Primary Care Provider. Women’s Health Primary Care Providers are trained and competent to manage symptoms related to menopause. This often involves treatment with hormone therapy. Sometimes treatment of menopause symptoms is best done with collaboration between primary care, gynecology and other specialists. For an initial evaluation, Veterans can schedule an appointment with their local VA provider or call or text the Women Veterans Call Center at 855-VA-WOMEN.

Q: Why we as women veterans are not told about this we we enroll in the VA

A: Once enrolled in VHA services, you will be assigned or may request a Women’s Health Primary Care Provider (WH-PCP) with the gender of your choice, at your preferred facility. The role of the WH-PCP is to provide comprehensive primary care services, including general primary care and gender-specific care to women Veterans enrolled in VHA. Your WH-PCP will provide a long-term patient-provider relationship, be your first point of contact with the VHA health care system, and serve as the foundation for your VHA health care experience. For more information, please call the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN. You will get connected to the right staff at your facility who can assist you. To learn more about services available to you, you can call our Women Veteran Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN, or visit VA’s Center for Women Veteran website at www.va.gov/womenvet

Q: What is it called, choice or mission act program??

A: The Veteran’s Choice Program was discontinued and was replaced by the VHA MISSION Act on June 6, 2019. For more information about the VA MISSION Program, please visit https://missionact.va.gov/

Q: I went to a VA location to find more information on Women's Healthcare (ie reproductive services) and was disappointed in the information provided and what people know. Where can I find more information? Do I need to apply separately for Women's Health Care?

A: Thank you for reaching out. Once enrolled in VHA services, you will be assigned or may request a Women’s Health Primary Care Provider (WH-PCP) with the gender of your choice, at your preferred facility. The role of the WH-PCP is to provide comprehensive primary care services, including general primary care and gender-specific care to women Veterans enrolled in VHA. Reproductive health services include fertility care, pregnancy care, gynecology care, and other reproductive health care is also available. Your WH-PCP will provide a long-term patient-provider relationship, be your first point of contact with the VHA health care system, and serve as the foundation for your VHA health care experience. For more information, please call the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN. You will get connected to the right staff at your facility who can assist you.

Q: Is the Fertility aspect only for married individuals

A: Thank you for reaching out. VA is committed to helping Veterans navigate challenges that may arise from issues with fertility and the conception of a child. You do not have to be married to get assistance with fertility. VA offers a range of services to support fertility and is here to partner with Veterans throughout the treatment process. Through VA health care, enrolled Veterans have access to many different types of fertility treatments, procedures and services including infertility counseling, laboratory blood testing, genetic counseling, sperm testing, ultrasounds, surgery, reversal of a vasectomy or tubal ligation, medication, and other treatments. VA understands the stress and uncertainty that can come with infertility. That’s why VA providers are available to not only inform, treat, and guide Veterans through the process, but to encourage and support as well. For an initial evaluation, Veterans can schedule an appointment with their local VA provider or call or text the Women Veterans Call Center at 855-VA-WOMEN. However, in some cases, such as with in vitro, you do have to be married per the DOD memo references in 38 CFR 17.380

Q: Why cant veterans do ivf if they have never had a child and diagnosed as infertile without being service connected? Just one

A: Thank you for your question. For most fertility services, you do not need to be service connected for a condition causing infertility. VA is committed to helping Veterans navigate challenges that may arise from issues with fertility and the conception of a child. VA offers a range of services to support fertility and is here to partner with Veterans throughout the treatment process. Through VA health care, enrolled Veterans have access to many different types of fertility treatments, procedures and services including infertility counseling, laboratory blood testing, genetic counseling, sperm testing, ultrasounds, surgery, reversal of a vasectomy or tubal ligation, medication, and other treatments. VA understands the stress and uncertainty that can come with infertility. That’s why VA providers are available to not only inform, treat, and guide Veterans through the process, but to encourage and support as well. For an initial evaluation, Veterans can schedule an appointment with their local VA provider or call or text the Women Veterans Call Center at 855-VA-WOMEN.

Q: I just moved to another state, and I'll run out all my meds before I see another medical provider

A: Hello, thank you for your question. Please contact the Traveling Veteran Coordinator at your previous location or the Women Veterans Call Center at 1 855 829-6636. Both of these points of contact can assist you in obtaining your medications.

Q: Health services for older women post menopausal women. Thank you for this series

A: Thank you for reaching out. The menopausal transition can be a challenging time for women. Evaluation and treatment for menopause symptoms starts with your Women’s Health Primary Care Provider. Women’s Health Primary Care Providers are trained and competent to manage symptoms related to menopause. This often involves treatment with hormone therapy. Sometimes treatment of menopause symptoms is best done with collaboration between primary care, gynecology and other specialists. For an initial evaluation, Veterans can schedule an appointment with their local VA provider or call or text the Women Veterans Call Center at 855-VA-WOMEN.

Q: With all the problems the VA has, why not give veterans the option of choosing their own health plan in their community?

A: While there is no requirement that VA become your exclusive provider of care, there’re instances where you may be eligible to receive routine health care in the community. Community care is based on specific needs & circumstances. See https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/index.asp or 1-877-222-8387.

Whole Health

Q: Will Va cover massage and Accupuncture thru the wholistic health program?

A: Acupuncture and massage therapy are covered benefits through MISSION Act if they are a part of your personal health plan. The best method is to check in with your treating provider to discuss these options and see if they would support your overall health plan.

Q: Does the VA offer renatal yoga

A: VA does offer a variety of yoga options, and they do differ depending on site. Yoga instructors can modify poses and routines based on need. Reach out to your local facility to learn who your whole health point of contact is, and he/she can help determine if that specific service is available.

Q: I’m interested learning more about holistic health.

A: Great news! VHA has been delivering the whole health approach to care throughout VHA. To learn more, visit https://www.va.gov/wholehealth/. There, you will find information on holistic health care and what is available to you as a Veteran. This is such an important time to be thinking about your whole health. Feel free to visit the self-care blog series at #LiveWholeHealth which has quite a few holistic health care approaches that you can try virtually: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/tag/livewholehealth/

Military Sexual Trauma

Q: What happens when a ptsd/mst claim is filled, however the claim hasn’t been touched for over 90 days?

A: To discuss your specific claim information, please give us a call at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. That way we can retrieve your claim status and provide specific information pertaining to your claim.

Q: Mst- victim - and still fighting since 2006 .... hurry up and wait .. cancer survivor.. had an abortion due to pregnancy caused by sexual assault.... but still no answer... HELP!!

A: Please know that while you wait to learn more about your claim that treatment and support is available. There is an MST Coordinator at every VA. This person is knowledgeable about services available. You can reach your MST Coordinator by calling your closest VA Medical Center (www.va.gov/directory). You are not alone.

Q: How do you get a representative for MST?

A: A good place to start is with your local VA facility’s MST Coordinator. This person can help you continue your recovery journey by learning more about your eligibility for care and connecting you with a mental health provider. You can reach the MST Coordinator by calling the main number of your local facility and asking to speak to the MST Coordinator. You can search here: www.va.gov/directory.

Q: Question for Dr McCutcheon, is there specific training for your clinicians in mental health to support women and MST issues? Because I know a female veteran who had 16 years in when she got out after MST and the command climate. She finally spoke to a counselor and told her about the assault....the counselor responded....”wow if this is true...why did you wait so long?” This makes me very sad and I assume the suicide rate for women could have something to do with this. You can contact me for specifics.

A: Hello and thank you for your question and comment. Yes, there is mandatory MST training for mental health and medical professionals in VA. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend who had a negative experience. Every VA facility has an MST Coordinator. This person can help direct one to care and can problem solve if challenges arise. To find the MST Coordinator at your closest VA Medical Center, please check this link (www.va.gov/directory). More general information and resources about MST are available here: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/mentalhealth/msthome.

Q: I'm a sexual assault victim from 1980 and I can't get my medical records from the asssalt and I need them for the dates to put on my claim

A: Without retrieving your specific claim information, we are unable to determine if you already have a claim pending or not. If you have not submitted your claim yet, you may do so on VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits. You can contact VA to find a military sexual trauma (MST) Coordinator who will assist you with the claim process and provide detailed information regarding the retrieval of any pertinent documents for your claim. VA will assist with helping you obtain the records for your claim. For a list of Veterans Benefits Administration MST Coordinators by state, please visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/mstcoordinators.asp. If you already have a claim that is pending, you may express your concern regarding the inability to obtain your medical records on VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of Claim from the Veteran. That way the representative working on your claim can get in contact with you in order to assist with the claim process. To discuss specific information pertaining to your claim, please give us a call at 1-800-827-1000. We are here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Q: How do I have my hysterectomy added to my MST percentage disability claim?

A: You may submit a new VA disability claim on VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits. If your hysterectomy is related to your MST, you may indicate on the application that you are claiming it secondary to your MST. For more information regarding how to file a claim, please visit https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim/. To discuss specific information pertaining to your claim, please give us a call at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Q: I had a heck of a time getting into the va for mst assistance

A: A good place to start is with your local VA facility’s MST Coordinator. This person can help you continue your recovery journey by learning more about your eligibility for care and connecting you with a mental health provider. You can reach the MST Coordinator by calling the main number of your local facility and asking to speak to the MST Coordinator. You can search here: www.va.gov/directory.

Q: Hi, Veteran here with a MST that was reported while in, made very clear when I was going through the board process and included in the packet but it's not mentioned in disability. It just says PTSD which is hard for me because I have specific issues with males that cause anxiety attacks. It has happened a few times in my local VA. But I also cannot have children because of the MST. How can this be added even though I have 100%?

A: A good place to start is with your local VA facility’s MST Coordinator. This person can help you continue your recovery journey by learning more about your eligibility for care and connecting you with a mental health provider. You can reach the MST Coordinator by calling the main number of your local facility and asking to speak to the MST Coordinator. You can search here: www.va.gov/directory.

Q: What is the 1-800 for women Veterans to get information regarding MST and eating disorders?

1-855-829-6636, 1-855-VA-WOMEN. You can reach the MST Coordinator by calling the main VA number of your local facility and asking to speak to the MST Coordinator or Women’s Mental Health Champion. You can search here: www.va.gov/directory.

Q: What happens when a ptsd/mst claim is filled, however the claim hasn’t been touched for over 90 days?

A: To discuss your specific claim information, please give us a call at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. That way we can retrieve your claim status and provide specific information pertaining to your claim.

Q: I need a MST group in Philly. Anyone know of one or some support people I can link up with please

A: Please reach out to the MST Coordinator in that area. Here is the main number: 215-825-4412. This person will be able to talk to you about groups available. You can also call the Vet Center Call Center at 1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) or visit www.vetcenter.va.gov

Q: Why is MST geared specifically to women? A lot of men suffer too

A: We know that men and women experience MST. In fact, 1 in 50 men have reported MST to their VA provider. Thus, outreach, education, and treatment resources are available for both men and women. Additional information about MST is available here: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/mentalhealth/msthome. Thank you for your comment.

Q: I have PTSD from MST and had a unfortunate experience at my last GYN appointment. The provider had me undress, crack the door open and then get on the table. Seriously?!? She also was not in tune to me being triggered being there. Instead, she saw I was upset and sent a message to my PCP instead of checking in with me. Some providers really need more education about MST.

A: Thank you for reaching out! We want everyone who comes to the VA to feel that they are treated with dignity and feel safe in the healthcare environment. If you have concerns about your care we encourage you to talk with your healthcare providers or your Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM) at your facility to discuss your concerns. You can find out who your WVPM is by looking at your facility’s website or by calling the Women Veterans Call Center at 855-VA-Women. We strive to have all our providers training in MST in order to take a trauma informed care approach.

 

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Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.