The White House is finally starting to act on the promise to take action for Veterans suffering from burn pits toxic exposure. You can read the full press release here, but we summarized a few of the biggest points:
Expanding training for VA and non-VA providers
The VA will soon require all health providers to complete the first module a five part training program. This will provide “an entry-level understanding of the health outcomes of military exposures.” The remaining 4 module will be optional, but encouraged.
Adding new presumptive conditions
This past August, the VA began processing disability claims for asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. This was based on the presumption that if a service member had these conditions, and served near a burn pit, they were probably related.
However, the presumption for more dire illness, like constrictive bronchiolitis, lung cancers, and rare respiratory cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx or trachea and salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea, are not included. The White House is promising to continue to “test the new presumptive model to assess potential associations between military environmental exposures…”
Establishing network of specialized providers and call center
The memo stated, “Beginning in 2022, VA will launch VET-HOME, The Veterans Exposure Team-Health Outcomes of Military Exposures.”
This will include “a call center for veterans and providers, and a nationwide network of specialists.” This will allow them access to be “referred to one of 40 environmental health providers.” Information from these specialized centers will be sent to the Veteran’s primary health care team.
Raising awareness of VA benefits
Soon, service members will be made aware of of their eligibility for benefits and services related to potential military exposures during Transition Assistance Programs. VA also intends to give refresher trainings for all claims processors, and provide Q&A sessions on social media related to benefits.
To learn more about the fight for Veterans healthcare, visit Burn Pits 360.