Tomah VA prepared to refer those exposed to toxic burn pits for treatment

TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) — The PACT act is expanding health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances.

President Biden signed the bipartisan bill into law last week.

Exposure to toxic burn pits has resulted in a variety of respiratory issues for veterans. Those can range from symptoms of asthma to many different kinds of cancers.

Before the act was in place, Mary Ellis of the Tomah VA said only symptomatic veterans could be checked. Now, any veteran exposed to burn pits will have the opportunity to be checked free of charge.

“So while they may not have symptoms at the present time for their exposures, we know that these things could develop over time, so this will allow them to have these evaluations done accordingly,” Ellis said.

Ellis encourages everyone to take advantage of the service.

Tomah VA does not offer on-site treatment for respiratory care, but they do offer referrals to both their sister hospital in Madison and community hospitals like Mayo Clinic and Gundersen Health in La Crosse.

Ellis said veterans in need should call the VA first so they can get that official referral.

Recent News Headlines from News 8 Now 

Army reservists train for battlefield scenarios at Fort McCoy 

Stop the Bleed: La Crosse school nurses learn life-saving measures as school shootings rise 

West Salem homicide suspect held on $10,000 cash