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Regarding Paul Wood’s special report on veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI), it is encouraging to read the stories of veterans in our community recovering from TBI and other injuries.

There is more that can be done for veterans, and as the special report indicated, some veterans report concerns with policies and practices of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), making their recovery more difficult.

In general, disability compensation benefits are available to veterans who were injured physically and/or mentally by serving on active duty. The benefits available depend on the veteran’s disability rating, which is determined by the VA. As mentioned in the special report, the disability rating does not always account for TBI.

In particular, veterans with TBI report encountering barriers to accessing VA mental health services. Reducing the eligibility requirements for mental health treatment would allow more veterans to have access.

There are concerns among female veterans that the VA does not provide adequate privacy and safety during outpatient examinations. Also, half of female veterans who suffer from both PTSD and depression report unmet medical needs.

Improvements to VA staff training, and following up with female veterans after visits, would help ensure their needs were met, as would empowering the VA’s Center for Women Veterans to correct unmet needs.