Review of VHA Care and Privacy Standards for Women Veterans

OIG conducted a congressionally-requested review to evaluate VHA’s provision of care for women veterans, both general and gender-specific, proficiencies of Designated Women’s Health Providers (DWHPs), and VHA facilities’ compliance to privacy standards for women veterans. We found that 82.5 and 17.5 percent of gender-specific care visits for women veterans were performed at VA and non-VA facilities, respectively, during fiscal year (FY) 2014. We identified that as of September 2, 2015, there were 2,294 DWHPs representing the equivalent of 1,864.7 full time employees (FTEs). We found that 39.8 percent of those FTEs practiced at a VA medical facility, while 60.2 percent practiced at a VA community based outpatient clinic (CBOC) setting. Among these DWHPs, 1,236 (53.9 percent) were shown to have women veteran populations of less than 10 percent of their total patient panel. We found that 547 of the 1,236 providers (44.3 percent) had documented proficiencies. We noted that VHA has identified those providers with a low percentage of women veterans, but we could not verify that the provided documentation satisfied the proficiency requirements for all of these providers. During FY 2014, we found that 20.4 percent of the 93 CBOCs evaluated did not meet specific VHA requirements for protecting the privacy of women veterans. We noted slight improvement in FY 2015; 14.3 percent of the 56 CBOCs evaluated did not meet the same VHA requirements for women veterans’ privacy. We recommended that the Acting Under Secretary for Health ensure that the Office of Women’s Health Services routinely reviews and when appropriate, strengthens the requirements for women’s health provider designation and facilitates the updating of requirements for all designated women health providers with supporting documentation that details how the requirements were satisfied.

Post expires at 7:30am on Thursday July 20th, 2017

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