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Veterans Enrolled in VA Health Care Are Now Eligible for New Toxic Exposure Screenings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and clinics across the country are now offering enrolled Veterans a new toxic exposure screening. These screenings are a key part of the PACT Act, a new law that empowers VA to deliver care and benefits to millions of toxic-exposed Veterans and their survivors. 

The screening takes five to 10 minutes and begins by asking Veterans if they believe they experienced any toxic exposures while serving in the armed forces. Veterans who answer “yes” are then asked about specific exposures, including open burn pits, Agent Orange, radiation, contaminated water, and other exposures.

Veterans enrolled in VA health care will be offered an initial toxic exposure screening and then follow-up screenings at least once every five years.

“These screenings are an important step toward making sure that all toxic-exposed Veterans get the care and benefits they deserve,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “At the end of the day, these screenings will improve health outcomes for Veterans—and there’s nothing more important than that.”

Veterans who report concerns about toxic exposures will be connected to information about clinical resources and benefits. These screenings are a part of VA’s broader efforts to provide world-class health care for toxic-exposed Veterans.

Veterans can ask about receiving the screening at their next VA primary care provider appointment. If Veterans are not assigned to a Primary Care team or wish to be screened sooner than their next appointment, we invite them to contact their local facility and ask to be screened by the Toxic Exposure Screening Navigator.

VA began a pilot of this program on September 6. Since then, VA has screened more than 19,000 Veterans and found a 37% concern of exposure among those Veterans. 

We encourage Veterans not currently enrolled in VA health care to apply now. Visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction to learn more. 

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