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On Monday, a group of local officials and representatives from the Finger Lakes VA gathered in Rochester to discuss the latest phase of the PACT (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) Act, which is set to take effect this month. The implementation of the legislation means that veterans who may have health issues due to exposure to toxic materials are now eligible for expanded health care services.

Jason Richards, an Outreach Program Coordinator with the VA, explained that this new provision allows for toxic exposure discussions regardless of combat, making more veterans eligible for VA health care. Originally targeted at assisting veterans exposed to things like burn pits and Agent Orange in Vietnam, the PACT Act now covers toxic exposures for veterans in any location.

Rep. Joe Morelle (D-25) expressed gratitude to the Veterans Administration for their quick approval of the new health coverage implementation. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that veterans and their families receive the benefits they deserve, as exposure to toxic materials can impact not only the veteran but also their family members. It is believed that there are likely thousands of veterans in the Finger Lakes region and many more nationwide who will benefit from the expanded regulations. Morelle and local VA representatives are working hard to spread awareness about healthcare coverage under the new law, and additional information can be found on the VA’s website.

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