New law provides health care benefits for Veterans

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The PACT Act is a historic new law that will help VA deliver for millions of Veterans — and their survivors — by empowering us to presumptively provide care and benefits to Vets suffering from more than 20 toxic exposure-related conditions. It will also bring generations of Veterans into VA health care, which will improve Veteran health outcomes across the board.

Michael Welsh, Phoenix VA Health Care Interim Medical Center Director, and Chris Norton, VA Phoenix Regional Office Director explain the benefits of this law.

Prior to the PACT Act, Veterans were required to go through a long process in order to prove their disabilities were directly related to a specific incident that happened during their service. Norton said that with the PACT Act they are getting rid of this process that can sometimes take decades and instead use their newly incorporated “Presumptive Care Benefits.” What this does is connect the geographic area in which the veteran served with the symptoms or disabilities they are currently experiencing and take action from there.

“That is the challenge for us as a healthcare agency but is also the benefit because with that being presumptive, we can start taking care of the Veteran immediately and not have to wait for that whole adjudication process to go forward,” Welsh said.

The new PACT Act forecasts that a lot of Veterans who have not gotten their health benefits will finally start getting the healthcare they require. The VA Health Care Interim Medical Center is prepared to welcome and help Veterans to get the healthcare they need. They have already hired and additional sixteen hundred decision makers over the course of the last year to prepare for what is coming next.

“Phoenix is one of the fastest growing VAs in the country, we’ve grown by eleven percent in the last year, year and a half, but we’re expecting to have another thirty thousand potential veterans come into our door and we’re excited for that opportunity to provide the service that they deserve,” Welsh said.

Michael Welsh, Phoenix VA Health Care Interim Medical Center Director; Chris Norton, VA Phoenix Regional Office Director

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