Full Interview: Secretary of the VA on PACT Act, improving VA services for women and veterans’ mental health
Published 4:30 PM, December 27, 2022
Starting Jan. 1, the VA will start processing claims under the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough explains that the PACT ACT makes it so veterans who served in Southwest Asia, were exposed to toxins and have certain conditions will be assumed to have gotten said condition while serving oversees. This means the veterans will qualify for benefits and care.
The VA is now resolving more claims in a year than ever before, he said.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade created a “health emergency” for women receiving care at the VA, according to McDonough, and the VA will be providing abortion counseling and services in some narrow cases.
McDonough is working towards ensuring VA health facilities are more respectful and welcoming to women veterans by creating separate wings for women veterans in health facilities, hiring more doctors who specialize in women’s healthcare and buying machinery needed for women’s care.
There has been an 11 percent decrease in veteran homelessness, according to McDonough, and he would like to continue to see a decrease in 2023.
Veteran suicides decreased, and McDonough is working to ensure veterans in crisis have the resources they need at VA facilities.