Northport VA Medical Center
Northport VA Medical Center Selected to Launch Childcare Pilot
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the launch of a free, drop-in childcare service center at Northport VA Medical Center as well as at two other VA medical centers to an audience of more than 700 women Veterans attending the Fifth National Summit on Women Veterans' Issues, held July 15-17 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.
"We recognized this is an absolute need for our changing Veteran population," said VA New York/New Jersey Healthcare Network Director Michael Sabo. "This will alleviate the burden of trying to find childcare for our Veterans during appointments."
The pilot centers are part of VA's continuing effort to improve access to health care for eligible Veterans, particularly the growing number of women Veterans. Congress established this childcare initiative as part of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 which was signed by the President in May 2010.
Northport VA Medical Center is scheduled to start accepting veterans' children, ages 6 weeks to 12 years, this fall. The childcare center will be open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m and have the ability to care for 30 children at any one time.
"Our Medical Center continues to deliver the best care anywhere," said Northport VA's Director Philip C. Moschitta. "In addition to great care, we will be providing a safe place for our Veterans' children while our heroes focus on healing."
The childcare center will be operated by "Wee Luv Em" daycare, Northport's onsite licensed childcare provider. Drop-in services will be offered free to Veterans who have same day appointments at the medical center.
In a survey, VA found that nearly a third of Veterans were interested in childcare services and more than 10 percent had to cancel or reschedule VA appointments due to lack of childcare. This pilot program will benefit both men and women Veterans.
Development of the pilot program was facilitated by the Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group, which strives to make positive changes in the provision of care for all women Veterans.
"While the number of women Veterans continues to grow, they use VA for health care proportionately less than male Veterans," said Patricia Hayes, Chief Consultant of the VA's Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group. "We hope that by offering safe, secure childcare while the Veteran attends a doctor's appointment or therapy session, we will enable more women Veterans to take advantage of the VA benefits to which they are entitled."
Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the Veteran population. Of the 22.7 million living Veterans, more than 1.8 million are women. They comprise nearly 8 percent of the total Veteran population and 6 percent of all Veterans who use VA health care services. VA estimates women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the Veteran population by 2020 and 9.5 percent of VA patients.