Package includes Crapo and Klobuchar’s bipartisan legislation to require the VA to provide health care personnel with improved training on illnesses related to toxic exposures
Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) announced that a comprehensive package of bipartisan legislation to support veterans who have been exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances has passed the Senate. The package includes their Toxic Exposure Training Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide health care personnel with improved education and training to identify, treat and assess the impact of illnesses related to toxic exposures.
“The Senate’s passage of the Toxic Exposure Training Act sends a direct message to veterans that they should not have to miss or face gaps in health care coverage they have rightfully and bravely earned because of a lack of training and education necessary to fully understand the risks of toxic exposure in combat operations,” said Crapo. “Better training and education resources at the Department of Veterans Affairs will reduce claims processing times, minimize the burden of proof on the veteran, deliver quicker benefits and ensure our nation’s heroes receive the best medical care possible.”
“When we ask our young men and women to defend our nation, we make a promise to be there for them when they return home. That is why I have fought for years to ensure our veterans and servicemembers exposed to burn pits receive the care and benefits they need,” said Klobuchar. “The Senate’s passage of this bipartisan package, which includes my legislation with Senator Crapo to help the VA improve training for personnel working with those who have been exposed to toxic substances, is a big step forward as we continue our efforts to get veterans and servicemembers the care they’ve earned. Now that it has passed the Senate, we are one step closer to it being signed into law.”
The bipartisan package, the Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, will also make all troops eligible for VA health care for 10 years after separation, which is currently set at five years; create a new one-year open enrollment period for younger veterans whose eligibility has already expired; and mandate toxic exposure questionnaires for patients during VA medical visits.
Senator Crapo is also a co-sponsor of S. 437, the Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act, which would address barriers currently preventing many veterans from getting VA health care and benefits for illnesses and diseases related to exposure to burn pits. He remains dedicated to advocating for policies that improve services and benefits for our nation’s heroes.