VA HealthCare Open Enrollment

As part of the PACT Act, VA has expanded health care eligibility for certain veterans who were discharged after Sept. 11, 2001, and before Oct. 1, 2013. A one-year open enrollment period began on Oct. 1, 2022, and will end on Sept. 30, 2023, for this group of veterans depending on their dates and locations of service, regardless of disability claim status. Once the open enrollment period has closed, veterans from this group will be eligible for VA health care as part of a phase-in process based on discharge date. Don’t wait until Sept. 30. Apply for your health care benefits today.

Review of VA Presumption Decision Process

The PACT Act caused VA to make a series of changes in how presumptive claims were processed and called for VA presumption processes to be reviewed. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine completed its mandated review of VA processes used to determine medical conditions that are presumed to be service connected. In its recommendations on moving forward, the report included: “To promote understanding by veterans and other stakeholders, it is vital to make the rationales and justifications for decisions and the criteria and methods used to make them publicly available.”

POW/MIA Update

Army Pfc. Lex L. Lillard, 20, of Tucson, Arizona, was a member of the Medical Department of Manila and Subic Bays. He died while a prisoner of war on July 19, 1942. He will be buried in Jay, Oklahoma, on Sept. 23, 2023.

Army Sgt. Richard M. Sharrow, 22, of Marienville, Pennsylvania, was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Eighth U.S. Army. He was reported missing in action on July 25, 1950. He will be buried in his hometown on Sept. 25, 2023.

Army Pvt. Alvin D. Thurman, 21, of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, was a member of 1st Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. The Army issued a presumptive finding of death on Nov. 28, 1951. He will be buried in his hometown on Oct. 21, 2023.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio