Three developments that affect veterans in the state are in the headlines. The U.S. Congress may address toxic exposure legislation this week, a new Montana VA Patient check-in tool has started, and a virtual meeting highlighting women veterans in the state will be Friday.

Montana Senator Jon Tester spoke in Bozeman Friday (photo above) about the importance of Congress moving on the PACT Act. PACT stands for the "Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022." The bill passed a procedural vote 86 to 12 earlier this month. The bill, which will expand health care and improve claims processing for toxic exposure, is expected to face a final Senate vote soon.

Tester said, "In Montana, more than 60,000 veterans may have been exposed to toxic substances during their service...To put it simply - it's the bill our veterans and their families deserve, and are counting on."

New VA Check-in Tool in Montana

Monday, June 13, the Montana VA Health Care System started a new check-in process at the clinics. Instead of the check-in kiosks, Veterans can use a Smartphone APP, which should improve speed of access for appointments.

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To use the PCI check-in on the day of your appointment, text on your smartphone to 53079. The smartphone can also help veterans start their pre-check-in process up to seven days before a scheduled appointment, and should cut down on long lines at the check-in desks.

If you don't have a smartphone, you can still check-in to your appointment in-person, since some vets don't like to use their smartphone. The VA news release said that the VA health care system has over 47,000 enrolled veterans in the state, and 17 health care sites.

Town Hall for Women Veterans will be On-line

A virtual session to highlight VA services for women veterans will be Friday, June 17, at 5 p.m. The "Town Hall" will include information about fertility services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, services for survivors of military sexual assault or intimate partner violence, and resources for transgender veterans.

There will be time for questions. Montana VA and Veterans Benefits Administration representatives will be ready to answer. There are over 4,000 women veterans in Montana and Dr. Judy Hayman said, "Women are the fastest growing demographic of Veterans within the VA."

To be part of the VA Women session, you can call (833) 560-2071 or livestream the meeting at VAWomenVets or go to the VA Facebook page.

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