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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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