WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Female veterans don’t have enough access to life-saving mammograms, according to some lawmakers. That’s why a bipartisan group is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand access to the screenings, especially in rural areas.
“We know that early detection saves lives. That’s why it’s so important. That female veterans have access to mammography services,” Sen. Jon Ossoff said.
Senator Ossoff says this is an issue he’s been having conversations about with people from his home state of Georgia.
“I’ve heard in particular from female veterans that the delays in access to mammography services are really significant and that’s scary,” Ossoff said.
That’s why he’s part of a group of lawmakers calling on the VA to expand access to mammograms for veterans. The push is bipartisan, and includes Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn.
“One in eight women will experience breast cancer in their lifetimes and the number is higher for our female veterans,” Blackburn said.
This effort comes after Congress passed legislation last year requiring the VA to improve its breast cancer screening services.
“That was a necessary, step. What we need now is for the VA to step up and expand access,” Ossoff said.
Specifically, Ossoff says one of the things the VA should do is bring screenings to rural communities.
“We have the ability now to deploy mammograms via mobile units in trucks or trailers to get out into rural areas. The VA needs to be looking seriously at that,” Ossoff said.
He also wants them to improve the way they refer patients to other healthcare centers.
“There are often delays and red tape associated with those referrals, when it comes to mammography, those delays can literally cost lives,” Ossoff said.