Servicewomen’s health care needs mostly met, report finds

Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. Kristin M. Hall/AP

The Defense Department is providing adequate health care for servicewomen preparing for deployment as well as those already deployed, according to new reports.

Most military assessments of medical readiness are gender neutral, the Government Accountability Office found, though some are specific to women. For example, the Pentagon considers pregnancy and ovarian cancer to be deployment-limiting conditions. Preventative checks for these conditions were available at all the Army bases GAO reviewed, and treatment or care for them was either available on the base or at another military treatment facility.

A separate report found most female-specific medical needs were also being met for deployed service members. Military services have improved female hygiene education, developed self-diagnosis skills and invested in identifying health care gaps for deployed servicewomen.

The Pentagon is also collecting more information on medical services for all service members to ensure health care providers are meeting everyone’s needs, GAO said.

Defense falls short, however, in providing medical services to servicewomen who have been victims of sexual assault, GAO said. Health care providers are not aware of their responsibilities for treating the victims, the auditors found.

“Left unaddressed,” GAO wrote in the report, “such factors can undermine DOD’s efforts to address the problem of sexual assault in the military by eroding service members’ confidence in the department’s programs and decreasing the likelihood that victims of sexual assault will turn to the programs or seek care and treatment when needed.”

GAO recommended the Pentagon develop guidance specifying these responsibilities. It also suggested Defense ensure total compliance with annual refresher courses on sexual assault prevention and response. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.