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PACT Act is expanding benefits to veterans exposed to toxins while serving

Keith Srakocic

On today’s episode of The Confluence: 

Veterans exposed to toxic substances while serving now can receive treatment from the VA through new legislation
(0:00 - 9:19)

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. The legislation expanded benefits and services for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances.

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the Pittsburgh VA Regional Office are hosting a town hall tomorrow at 10am in the H. John Heinz III Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center to inform veterans and field questions about these new benefits.

Timothy Martin, chief veterans affairs officer for Allegheny County, says so far, 400 veterans from Allegheny County have come through with claims of toxic exposure.

“You feel like you did everything you were supposed to for your country and then you kind of felt left out to dry a little bit,” says Martin. “The VA is a wonderful resource, has done a lot to improve health care, but with anything, there's always room for improvement, and the PACT act is a first step in the right direction to right those wrongs that were done to our Vietnam era and our Gulf War veterans.”

The Veterans Affairs Department saidit would start processing claims on January 1.

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Pitt’s volleyball team is again competing in NCAA’s Final Four
(9:40 - 18:30)

For the second straight year, and the second time in school history, the University of Pittsburgh Volleyball team is playing in the NCAA Final Four, this time in Omaha, Nebraska.

Tonight the team is playing Louisville, which it lost to 0 - 3 in November. Team Captain Chiamaka Nwokolo says the loss was a reminder to pay attention to the team’s “vibe.”

“Having high standards walking into every game will be key for us beating these teams,” says Nwokolo.

Head Coach Dan Fisher says the starting lineups for tonight’s game are different from previous games, but he believes the Pitt team is well-prepared.

“I never envisioned we'd have a run like this,” says Fisher. “[But] this team believes that they can win a championship, and I think that would obviously just be really neat for the Pittsburgh community.”

Pitt’s volleyball team plays Louisville tonight at 9:30 p.m.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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