U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs visits Albert Lea VA clinic

Secretary McDonough at VA Clinic in Albert Lea
Secretary McDonough at VA Clinic in Albert Lea(KTTC)
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 5:39 PM CDT
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ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) – Monday, the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough was in Albert Lea touring the VA Clinic along with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.

In 2021, The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs opened the VA outpatient clinic in Albert Lea. So far, more than 2,000 veterans have used its services.

Secretary McDonough and Senator Klobuchar toured the facility and honored several employees for the work they do there.

“It’s that kind of collaboration that really makes VA, the country’s most integrated healthcare system, the great system that it is,” Secretary McDonough said.

The two also talked about the PACT Act, legislation aimed at expanding healthcare coverage for veterans, specifically those who may have been impacted by burn pit toxins in the Middle East and Agent Orange in Vietnam.

“It actually lists the number of illnesses with things like cancer and respiratory illnesses and creates a presumption that if you develop that and were stationed next to a burn pit, that you’re eligible for these benefits,” Senator Klobuchar said.

They’re looking to expand this work further, working with healthcare leaders to provide advanced care for veterans.

“Working with those academic partners, we’re able now to offer cutting-edge treatments for our veterans for things like cancers,” Secretary McDonough said.

Also, they want to continue investing in women’s healthcare for veterans.

“We have to prepare for that, not only now, but as we see a growing number of women veterans. They’re going to need some specialized healthcare,” Senator Klobuchar said.

There’s no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits. But if you file your PACT Act claim—or quickly submit your intent to file—by August 9, you may receive benefits backdated to August 10, 2022.

Apply for VA benefits here.

File a claim with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs here.