Underwood Introduces Legislation to Improve Care for Women Veterans

July 10, 2019
Press Release
Establishes annual report by VA to ensure women veterans receive quality care

WASHINGTON—Today Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) introduced the Caring for Women Veterans Act (H.R. 3636) to ensure women veterans receive quality health care from VA facilities. The bill directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit an annual report to Congress on gender-specific care available at VA facilities, which will provide an informed and sustainable roadmap to providing high quality, accessible care for women veterans.

“By 2043, the population of women veterans is set to nearly double. As this number grows, the VA must modernize to ensure that all VA facilities are equipped to provide comprehensive services for all veterans,” said Underwood. “The Caring for Women Veterans Act will identify ways the VA can improve care for women veterans and provide the VA with guidance to address the unique barriers to care they face. By empowering the VA to fulfill its mission to provide exceptional care, we can help more veterans access the quality care they deserve.”

The report will include:

  • Locations where women veterans access VA care, including the number of women veterans in each state, and how many have been seen and received care at each VA facility;
  • The extent to which the VA can model its services and programs for women on the practices of private care centers;
  • Recommendations for facilities improvements and research on the best way to apply funding to achieve goals;
  • The number of women’s health centers, patient aligned care teams, OBGYNs, and designated women’s health providers by facility; and
  • The number of providers who have completed a women’s health mini-residency, and providers who have enough patients to retain competencies and proficiencies in women’s health.

As a member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the Servicewomen & Women Veterans Congressional Caucus, and the Women Veterans Task Force, Underwood is an advocate for improving veterans’ access to quality care and has worked to helps ensure veterans receive the care they have earned. In May, Underwood’s bipartisan legislation to ensure high-quality mental health and suicide prevention care for veterans passed the U.S House of Representatives unanimously. The Veterans’ Care Quality Transparency Act ensures both the VA and outside providers are offering veterans high-quality mental health and suicide prevention services.