(Hour 2b) Manchester VA Public Affairs Officer Kristin Pressly and Women Veterans Program Manager Mary Behnke joined us to share about the women veterans health programs offered through the VA. Find out how you can keep your doctor if you like your doctor and have the VA pay for it.
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Women Veterans are the fastest growing group of new users of VA health services. Currently, more than 90% of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) women utilizing VA care are of childbearing age. Maternity benefits have been included in the VA medical benefits package since 1996. These benefits begin with confirmation of the pregnancy, preferably in the first trimester, and continue through the postpartum visit, usually 6-8 weeks after delivery or when the Veteran is released from obstetric care. Coverage is also provided for newborn care within seven days of delivery.
Provision of maternity services begins with the provider submission of the Non VA Care Maternity Consult, after VA lab confirmation of pregnancy. Services are coordinated and made available in the community. First the Veteran must be authorized by Non VA Care to choose her own provider in the community. Each authorized period of maternity services is coordinated by the Non VA Care Program Office and the Veterans Integrated System Network 1 Maternity Care Coordinator who can be reached at (413) 584-4040 ext. 2014.
The Manchester VAMC provides health care to approximately 2,000 women Veterans. In fiscal year 2014, Manchester VAMC coordinated maternity care for 33 women Veterans. VA provides prenatal vitamins, contraception, maternity belts, breast pumps and nursing bras free of charge to eligible Veterans. Non VA care is authorized to reimburse the Veteran the cost of pregnancy-related education such as childbirth preparation classes, parenting classes, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support and lactation classes. If requested by the Veteran, Non VA care will also authorize postpartum tubal ligation during the same community hospitalization.
At Manchester VAMC, Veterans are fortunate to have the services of Linda Zollo, Ph.D, who has been providing reproductive mental health services for our pregnant Veterans, available by referral. Dr Zollo meets individually with pregnant and postpartum women to identify and reduce the impact of risk factors for mood and anxiety reactions during pregnancy and after delivery. Dr. Zollo has also established a bi-weekly therapy/support group: “In the Service of Motherhood” for female Veterans, which meets on the first and third Wednesdays of the month to share the joys and increase skills to negotiate the challenges of pregnancy and new motherhood.
Providing for our Women Veteran is a priority for all at Manchester VAMC, this includes staff as well as our Volunteers. Madeline Dreusicke, Volunteer of the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW supporting Veterans at Manchester VA, recently headed up volunteer efforts for the Warrior Mom Drive, “we want to make sure the new moms know we’re thinking of them during this exciting time in their lives,” said Dreusicke. The drive efforts raised awareness and provided resources for approximately 30 new Veteran Warrior Moms. Contact the Manchester VA Medical Center Women Veterans Program Manager at 603-624-4366 ext. 6541, Non VA Care Patient Services Manager at ext. 5816, or Linda Zollo, Ph.D. at ext. 2298 for questions about your VA maternity care. – See more click here: