New VA regulations in effect relating to diseases associated with Camp Lejeune water

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, N.C., recently went into effect.

“Establishing these presumptions is a demonstration of our commitment to care for those who have served our nation and have been exposed to harm as a result of that service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin. “The Camp Lejeune presumptions will make it easier for those veterans to receive the care and benefits they earned.”

The presumption of service connection applies to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, and are diagnosed with any of the following conditions:

• Adult leukemia.

• Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes.

• Bladder cancer.

• Kidney cancer.

• Liver cancer.

• Multiple myeloma.

• Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

• Parkinson’s disease.

The area included in this presumption is all of Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, including satellite camps and housing areas.

This presumption complements the health care already provided for 15 illnesses or conditions as part of the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.

The Camp Lejeune Act requires the VA to provide health care to veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, and to reimburse family members or pay providers for medical expenses for those who resided there for no fewer than 30 days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.

For more information

The office of the Archuleta County veterans service officer provides assistance to qualified military veterans, and their families, or a veteran’s survivors, in applying to and in obtaining VA program assistance, benefits and claims.

This assistance is provided within the guidelines, policies and procedures established by the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This is a mandated program of the state of Colorado.

For further information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The best way to contact me is to set up an appointment, for either at your home or in the office, so I can schedule a specific time in order to answer and assist each veteran in Archuleta County.

The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590 and email is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Bring a DD Form 214 (discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County VSO office.

Always leave me a message and phone number to contact you.

Veterans’ groups

The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• Veterans for Veterans: Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.

• Combat Veterans PTSD Group: Every other Tuesday at noon, Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St. Contact Kevin Kelly at (505) 699-0824.

• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: First and third Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., Dr. Sharon Carter’s office. Contact Charlotte at 903-9690.

Important numbers

• 799-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.

• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: 247-2214.

• Farmington VA Center: (505) 326-4383.

• VAMC Albuquerque, N.M.: (800) 465-8262.

• VAMC Albuquerque, N.M., emergency notification: (800) 465-8262, ext. 5739.

• The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.

This story was posted on April 6, 2017.