You don’t think of health care until something comes up. I knew about VA health care but I didn’t think it was for me.
Baltimore (Vocus) September 9, 2010
For Tyronda Franklin, Lakisha Jones, Roberta Petties and Roxanne Smith, three former Navy Service women, health care benefits provided by the VA Maryland Health Care System proved to be a tremendous benefit and a pleasant surprise. And now—in order to inform women Veterans about their health care benefits, the VA Maryland Health Care System will hold an Open House and Information Fair on Sat. Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Baltimore VA Medical Center’s Outpatient Clinic, located at 10 N. Greene St.
“You don’t think of needing health care when you’re getting discharged [from the military]. You think of finding a place to live and getting a job,” said Petties. “You don’t think of health care until something comes up. I knew about VA health care but I didn’t think it was for me.”
Many women Veterans echo Petties’ sentiments, oftentimes, not realizing that comprehensive VA health care benefits are available to women Veterans. “I forgot about it completely, until my uncle, an Army Veteran, suggested it,” said Franklin.
“I’m getting great care at the VA. I signed on for benefits before I retired from the Navy,” Smith said.
Women who have served in the armed forces and received an honorable discharge may qualify for health care benefits through the Department of Veteran Affairs. The VA Maryland Health Care System has a Women’s Veterans Program to ensure that women Veterans receive timely and equitable care in a sensitive and safe environment at all of its locations.
“We’ve created women-friendly space—the Women’s Health Clinic offers access to high-quality, cutting-edge care and privacy,” says Zelda McCormick, who manages the Women Veterans Program for the VA Maryland Health Care System.
During the Open House and Information Fair, women Veterans can tour the new Women’s Health Unit and listen to hourly presentations on VA services specifically available for women. Information will be provided about nutrition, pharmacy, mental health services, and a Veterans Benefits Administration representation will also be available to provide information about compensation and pension benefits.
Women Veterans interested in enrolling for VA health care during the Open House and Information Fair should bring a copy of their discharge paperwork (Form DD214) and a photo ID to assist with the enrollment process. Women Veterans who are receiving care through the VA Maryland Health Care System are also encouraged to attend and learn more about the services available to them. Crafts and activities for children will be available throughout the open house, so childcare issues should not be a factor for women Veterans who want to attend.
To RSVP or for more information about this free information fair, please call the Community Outreach Office for the VA Maryland Health Care System at 1-800-949-1003, ext. 5407.
The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to veterans at two medical centers, one community living & rehabilitation center and five outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 veterans from various generations receive care from the VAHMCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, the VAHMCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for Veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a Veteran can do. For information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment or how to apply for a VA medical care hardship to avoid future copayments for VA health care, interested Veterans are urged to call the Enrollment Center for the VA Maryland Health Care System, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7324 or visit http://www.maryland.va.gov.