The PACT Act, Burn Pits, and Next Steps
Several members of the TreatNOW Coalition, all Burn Pit victims, will be at the White House for the Signing of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics, or PACT, Act. Extensive interviews with these wounded, most of them also suffering from TBI/PTSD, reveals that the VA is failing them in actual treatments. Short and variable staffing, lack of qualified specialists, long wait times, over-reliance on drugs, lack of proven protocols, and a myriad of other shortcomings, indicate that Burn Pit victims will have access to care that already has proven to be too often inadequate and lacking in effectiveness, rather than “high-quality integrated health care.”
While we applaud the reversal of the VA intransigence on Burn Pits, we will remain vigilant in stressing that the VA expand access to alternative modalities like Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Luckily, increasing numbers of veterans are receiving HBOT treatment and are reporting [objective and subjective measures] vast improvement over conditions the VA has failed to ameliorate.
Note: Dr. Carol Henricks of Northstar Hyperbarics and other Coalition doctors are perfecting protocols to deal with Burn Pit victims for a number of conditions related to 23 additional illnesses listed in the new legislation as presumed to be related to airborne toxins. No surprise that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is demonstrably improving conditions related to Burn Pits, starting with respiratory problems.
We will be releasing continuing reports on VA interventions and Testimonials of veterans who have come to the TreatNOW Coalition after years of unrelieved suffering that led too many to suicidal ideation and worse.
Veterans Can Start Filing New Claims Now for 23 Illnesses Covered Under New Law
Military.com, Patricia Kime, Wed, August 3, 2022
The Department of Veterans Affairs has established a website explaining the details of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics, or PACT, Act, and encourages veterans to file claims and apply for health care coverage.
The bill, expected to be signed into law Monday by President Joe Biden in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House, provides health care and disability benefits for certain deployment-related diseases and conditions.
On Tuesday, VA Secretary Denis McDonough encouraged affected veterans, their family members or survivors to apply for benefits by filing a claim.
“Once the President signs this bill into law, we at VA will implement it quickly and effectively, delivering the care these veterans need and the benefits they deserve,” McDonough said in a statement to the press.
The PACT Act was approved by the Senate late Tuesday in an 86-11 vote, the culmination of a months long congressional effort to bring the legislation across the proverbial finish line. In his State of the Union Address in January, Biden vowed to help veterans with exposure-related illnesses, calling it a “sacred obligation.”
Following Senate approval of the bill, Biden released a statement saying passage was a “decisive and bipartisan win for America’s veterans.”
“For the millions of veterans who may have been exposed to harmful toxins, this bill means quicker access to health care services and other benefits,” Biden said. “This could be the difference between life and death for many suffering from toxic-related illnesses.”
Terri Tanielian, special assistant to the president for veterans affairs, said Wednesday that the bill includes provisions and resources for the VA to process claims more quickly, including an automated system that will expedite claims filed for certain conditions.
Currently, the VA has 595,862 claims filed by veterans that are pending; that includes 164,743 considered backlogged, or pending for more than 125 days.
The PACT Act is expected to add thousands of more claims, from former service members who were diagnosed with one or more of 23 illnesses listed in the new legislation as presumed to be related to airborne toxins. Those will range from Vietnam-era veterans with hypertension to monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, to veterans exposed to Agent Orange who previously couldn’t file a claim because they were assigned to locations that weren’t identified as having stored or used toxic herbicides.
But Tanielian said the department will be ready.
“The department is planning to be able to lean in. They have been working on hiring more claims processors and looking at additional ways to do more to automate claims. If they can [do that], the timeline will be much shorter,” Tanielian said in an interview with Military.com.
The bill could help roughly 3.5 million veterans access health care in the coming years.
The PACT Act extends the period for post-9/11 combat veterans to enroll in VA health care from five years to 10 and also includes a one-year open enrollment for combat veterans who fall outside that time frame.
It expedites claims for more than 20 specific conditions and removes a requirement that afflicted veterans and their survivors prove service connection for 11 specific respiratory conditions and several types of cancer, including reproductive cancers, melanoma, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer and brain cancers.
Survivors of veterans who died due to one of these conditions may now also be eligible for benefits, according to a White House press release.
In addition to expanding benefits for post-9/11 veterans, the agreement announced Wednesday broadens coverage for Vietnam-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Specifically, it would add Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa and Johnston Atoll to the list of places where veterans were exposed to Agent Orange and so can get coverage.
Tanielian said the legislation is going to draw more patients into the VA’s health care system, where “they will receive high-quality integrated health care.”
“The President has made specific commitments about ensuring that we can continue to deliver world-class health care to veterans by releasing additional rules and guidance to improve and expand access to services,” Tanielian said.
The VA’s new website for the PACT Act can be found can be found here. Veterans, family members and survivors also can call (800) 698-2411 to have their questions answered. The hearing impaired can access information through 711 via teletypewriter.
“We’ll be communicating with you every step of the way to make sure that you and your loved ones get the benefits you’ve earned,” McDonough said while announcing the new webpage and phone number.
The TreatNOW Coalition is over 133 clinics across the US that treat and help heal brain wounds and Burn Pit symptoms using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and other alternative therapies. TreatNOW’s Mission is to end service member suicides; service members suicides have once again increased, continuing a fifteen year trend. Coalition clinics have demonstrated 100% safety and over 90% success in treating over 21,000 service members, Special Operators, first responders, athletes and citizens with TBI/PTSD/Concussion.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is used around the world to extend and improve quality of life by augmenting the treatment of all injuries, diseases and infections, as well as to improve overall wellness. HBOT involves breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurized chamber to increase oxygen levels in blood plasma. A century of clinical research has shown that increased oxygen in plasma accelerates our natural ability to heal through neurogenesis, angiogenesis, anti-inflammation, pain reduction, and stem cell generation.
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The information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made. If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, please immediately contact Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)