Lexington VA hosting toxic exposure and health benefits event for veterans

Organizers say they expect about 150 veterans to participate in the event.
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lexington VA Health Care System and the Veterans’ Benefits Administration are teaming up to host a PACT Act event on Saturday.

It’s aimed at helping the thousands of veterans in our community.

Organizers say they expect about 150 veterans to participate in the event. They will be able to get toxic exposure screenings and information about healthcare enrollment and benefits.

“I think overall, veterans probably have lots of questions and maybe some misconceptions or misunderstandings. I think our PACT Act event is a perfect opportunity for them to come and learn both what is new and what they may be eligible for, but also what they’ve already filed for or perhaps not filed for,” said Lexington VA Health Care System Chief of Staff Dr. John Wilson.

Dr. Wilson says the recent expansion to veterans’ health benefits, with the implementation of the pact act, can be complicated. This includes 20 new presumptive conditions veterans can receive care for.

“The veteran doesn’t have to take documents and show that they got hurt or injured or the illness occurred while in service,” said Dr. Wilson.

Dr. Wilson says they currently have 38,000 veterans who seek health care with them. He says each one gets a toxic exposure screening upon enrollment, and of those, nearly 70% of them have had at least one exposure.

“Everything from agent orange to just gulf war syndrome, so those people who fought in the first Gulf War were exposed to the burning oil wells and other agents out there, to asbestos and there’s also a separate entity with the Camp Lejeune water contamination,” said Dr. Wilson.

Dr. Wilson says he knows these services are needed as more than 100 veterans are already signed up for the event. He says the pact act impacts generations of veterans.

“This is great in that it’s the va and the government coming forth and saying, ‘Hey, we know with your service we’ve exposed you to a lot of different things, and now we want to start looking at that closely,’” said Dr. Wilson.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Franklin Sousley Campus.

Click here to learn more.

If you can’t make it out to Saturday’s event, you can contact the VBA or VHA. Dr. Wilson also says they plan on holding more events like this one in the future.