BURN PITS 360 STATEMENT ON VETERANS DAY: VA
NEEDS TO ACT TO FULFILL THE PROMISE OF PACT ACT
Calls For Diagnostic Code For Constrictive Bronchiolitis Screening Process Using Functional Lung Imaging
Robstown, Texas (November 10, 2023) - Today, Rosie Torres, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Burn Pits 360, issued the following statement on Veterans Day:
“It’s been more than a year since the passage of the PACT Act, and while progress has been made, more work remains to fulfill its potential. On this Veterans Day, we are hopeful that the Veterans Administration (VA) will take immediate and concrete steps to help our heroes suffering from exposure to toxic chemicals overseas. Specifically, the VA must establish a diagnostic code for constrictive bronchiolitis (CB), one of the 23 presumptive conditions for burn
pit exposure established under PACT. The VA must also establish a screening process using non-invasive functional lung imaging to more efficiently identify Constrictive Bronchiolitis and other deployment-related respiratory disease. Harnessing these new technologies through a pilot program will help more veterans get better help faster, and truly realize the promise of PACT. The reality is that our warfighters are still sick and dying and it is our moral obligation to
ensure The VA and DOD fulfills the intent of the law.”
Under PACT, health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances, including burn pits, was expanded. The burden of proof was removed, and the respiratory illnesses of veterans was presumed to be connected to exposure from overseas deployments. According to media reports, the VA has received more than 978,000 claims since President Joe Biden signed the law on August 10, 2022. This year, in their respective Military Construction, Veterans Affairs,
and Related Agencies Appropriations bills, both the US House and Senate supported the use of non-invasive, FDA-approved and four dimensional lung modeling technologies for screening to save veterans from unnecessary, invasive procedures.
During a press conference on October 25, VA Secretary Denis McDonough told Lucy Bustamante of NBC Philadelphia that, “we don’t yet technically have a code for that condition” when discussing the diagnosis for constrictive bronchiolitis.