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Hines VA Hospital Outreach Team to answer questions from vets Dec. 14

GRUNDY – The PACT Act – is perhaps the largest health care and benefits expansion in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs history.

The law – also known as the Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act – will bring the following changes:

• Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 eras;

• Adds 20+ more presumptive conditions for burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic exposures;

• Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation;

• Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care;

• Helps the VA improve research, staff education and treatment related to toxic exposures.

The Hines VA Hospital outreach coordinator with the support of the Village of Channahon will be available to answer questions and provide information about these new benefits from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, Dec.14, at Channahon Village Hall, 24555 S Navajo Drive in Channahon.

This event is free and open to all veterans; no registration is required.

Flu shots also will be available for eligible veterans.

People may be eligible to enroll in VA health care if all of these statements are true: They served in the active military, naval or air service (including being called up from the National Guard or Reserve by a federal order), and they didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and they meet at least one of the service requirements for enrollment.

At least one of these service requirements must be met: Service of at least 24 months in a row without a break (called continuous), or for National Guard and Reserve members, the full active-duty period, or discharge for a service-connected disability, or discharge for a hardship or “early out,” service before Sept. 7, 1980. (Note: Time spent on active-duty status for training purposes only doesn’t count toward the service requirements.)

There are other criteria that may also make a person eligible for VA health care. Those who would like to enroll should bring a copy of their DD214 and a photo ID.

“There have been several significant changes to the benefits and services provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs as a result of the PACT Act,” said Ken Buck, superintendent of the Veteran Affairs Commission. “The Hines VA Outreach Team is available to help answer questions and assist with applications for veteran’s health care benefits.”

For those who are not able to attend an outreach event, the Grundy County VAC can be reached at or 815-941-3152 to schedule an office appointment to discuss these new benefits and all of the benefits and services available to veterans.

The VA Hines Healthcare System provides veterans with health care, trains America’s future healthcare providers, and conducts important medical research.

Care from the VA through the Hines network is available from seven locations in northeastern Illinois. Facilities include the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines and six community-based outpatient clinics in Aurora, Hoffman Estates, Joliet, Bourbonnais, Peru and Oak Lawn.

To learn more about the services each location offers, visit the VA Hines health care page at

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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