Congressman Ryan Raises Awareness For PACT Act

PORT JERVIS – In commemoration of the one year anniversary of the signing of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, Congressman Pat Ryan hosted the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health, Dr. Shereef Elnahal, to discuss improving access to care in the Hudson Valley and encouraging all eligible veterans to sign up for PACT Act coverage. The meeting also addressed reducing the suicide rate among veterans, transportation issues at the VA, and ensuring that VA is a welcoming and safe place for women veterans to receive care. Ryan was joined by members of his Veterans and Military Families Advisory Committee, as well as local elected officials including Orange County Executive Neuhaus and Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker.

“I’m committed to getting every veteran the care that they deserve, and that means bringing VA leadership to see the struggles our veterans face in the Hudson Valley firsthand. Whether it is increasing transportation options to VA Health Centers or combating the veterans’ mental health crisis, we need all hands on deck to deliver for everyone who wore the uniform for this country,” said Congressman Pat Ryan. “That includes making sure every eligible veteran receives PACT Act benefits. As we mark the one-year anniversary of this landmark legislation, I’m urging all my fellow veterans to register, regardless of separation date or previous eligibility. You put your lives on the line for this country, and these are benefits you’ve more than earned.”

“Orange County continues to be a leader in veterans’ care, and I was proud to participate in a roundtable to address the needs and issues these brave men and women face along with Rep. Pat Ryan and Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the Under Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus. “Topics we discussed included the PACT ACT, perhaps the largest healthcare and benefit expansion in VA history, access to care, including mental health services and women’s care, and transportation issues. After their selfless service, veterans deserve our gratitude and our help. I want to thank Congressman Ryan for organizing this event and Port Jervis for hosting it.”

“We are honored to have hosted Dr. Elnahal at our Port Jervis Community Outpatient Clinic. This significant visit underscores the one-year milestone of the PACT Act – a testament to our collective commitment to care for our nation’s Veterans,” said Dawn Schall, Medical Center Director, VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System. “His meaningful interaction with our Veteran Service Organizations and the VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System staff strengthened our commitment to continuously improve and innovate healthcare services for our Veterans and their survivors. As we move forward, we are excited and motivated to transform this dedication into tangible improvements that will enhance the care we provide to the men and women who sacrificed so much for us.”

The PACT Act is the largest expansion of veteran health care and benefits in decades. This discussion is part of VA’s broader efforts to ensure that every eligible Veteran and survivor gets their PACT Act-related health care and benefits. The PACT Act expanded the list of conditions now presumed to be service-connected due to toxic exposure. While there is no deadline to apply for PACT Act toxic exposure benefits, those who file a claim by today can receive benefits backdated to August 10, 2022, when the legislation was first signed into law. The PACT Act also expanded the eligibility for post-9/11 veterans to enroll in free VA healthcare. For veterans discharged or released between September 11, 2001, and before October 1, 2013, and not currently enrolled in VA healthcare, you have a special enrollment period to enroll. The deadline for this special enrollment period ends on September 30, 2023. Enrollment is free, there are no annual costs, and care may be free as well. To learn more, please visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email