The PACT Act and you


The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics, also known as the PACT Act, adds a number of important modifications to veteran health care.

Among other benefits, PACT requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to do a toxic exposure screening on each veteran who’s enrolled in VA health care. That’s a good start. Additionally, it extends eligibility for veterans who were exposed, adds more exposure locations for radiation and Agent Orange, and adds over 20 more presumptive conditions for AO and other toxin exposure, as well as exposure to burn pits.

That word “presumptive” is key. It means you don’t have to fight tooth and nail to prove that an illness came from being stationed at a particular location. It’s “presumed” that your illness came from being there and that the surrounding conditions were the cause. You don’t have to prove a thing.

If you’ve been getting VA care for several years, the name can be confusing because “PACT” used to mean something else: Patient Aligned Care Teams. In that incarnation of PACT, personalized primary care was the objective. It started in 2010 with the creation of teams made up of nurses, providers, social workers, pharmacists, nutritionists and many others. They would employ e-health visits, phone calls, monitoring at home, group visits, the whole medical gamut, to give individualized care to veterans. Surveys done then indicated that the program was modestly successful, at least when it came to reducing the number of urgent care visits (33%) and hospital admissions (12%).

Let’s just hope that the current incarnation of PACT is at least that successful.

To read about the current PACT, go to va.gov/resources/the-pact-act-and-your-va-benefits. You can read about eligibility of various eras, screenings, filing claims, info for survivors and more.

For specific help with how you can file a claim, call them at 800-698-2411. Or go to va.gov and file Claim Form 21-526ez online.

(c) 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.

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