CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center hosted a “Promise to Acknowledge and Take Care of Comprehensive Toxins” (PACT) Act informational town hall to inform veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors about the additional benefits at the VFW Post 573 in Clarksburg.

Those VA Medical Center officials encouraged those veterans, caregivers, and survivors to apply for the toxic exposure-related health care and benefits they have earned. The event included an overview of the PACT Act and an open forum for the public to ask questions to the Clarksburg VA Leadership team. VA staff were present to help Veterans enroll in VA health care.

“It’s a provision for ensuring that anybody who has been exposed to toxic exposures will be able to receive care for that,” Executive Medical Center Director Barbra Forsha said. “This year Congress passed that act. And so, this gives them an opportunity to know what is included in it, what benefits they have, and talk to them about the screening. The screening is a five to 10 minute, it’s not diagnostic in any way, it is not an exam, it is really just asking them specific questions to get at what their exposures might have been. And then from the screening then we can move them in with their care provider to learn a little bit about what their exposures were, create a plan for them, and if they’ve been exposed, to be able to do registry exams to be able to make a claim.”  

This PACT Act informational town hall event is part of the VA’s broader efforts to ensure that every eligible Veteran and survivor gets their PACT Act-related health care and benefits.

“I think really, just asking lots of questions because this is new, so if anybody has any need for information, we highly encourage them to talk to their primary care physicians, the screening is only five to ten minutes and it’s just questions to help move them along,” Forsha said. “I think one of the most important things is that these folks have been exposed to things and if they have the opportunity to be able to receive benefits, we highly encourage them to do that, and it also creates a plan. So, every veteran who comes through VA care has a health plan and this would be part of that plan. And we could make sure that the primary care providers do then ensure that they are receiving care and education and whole health related to that.” 

At the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, there is a PACT Act information navigator to help answer any questions a veteran or their family members may have about benefits. Information can also be found online.