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Getting the Most from the Burn Pit Registry – Completing an In-person Medical Evaluation

Post-9/11 Vet Newsletter: Information for Veterans who served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn.
 
Doctor speaking to a female patient

The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry is the next generation in VA environmental exposure registries. Unlike other more established VA registries in which you begin by going to your VA medical center and completing a survey, or completing a survey over the telephone, you can join this registry online. During the survey process, Veterans and service members are asked to answer questions about their military service, exposures, and health history. This creates a snapshot in time of the participant’s current health status. The information can be printed and shared with any health care provider.

To get the most out of the burn pit registry, Veterans can do more than just participate in the registry online. The next step is for Veterans to schedule an appointment for a free medical evaluation with a local VA provider. This service is optional, but it can help a Veteran understand any possible health problems related to their deployment. Veterans can talk to a knowledgeable health care provider about their concerns related to airborne hazards and open burn pits. The exam is specific to each Veteran and focuses on their individual health conditions and concerns.  The health information from the evaluation complements the registry data to create a complete picture of the Veteran’s health status.

Veterans must contact an environmental health coordinator near them to schedule an appointment for a medical evaluation, since completing the registry online does not cue VA to call to schedule an exam. A list of environmental health coordinators and their contact information is available at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/coordinators.asp.  Service members can obtain a free health evaluation from a Department of Defense (DoD) provider.

As of September 6, 2017, 116,643 Veterans and service members have completed and submitted their registry questionnaire. However, only three percent have had the in-person health exam. Eligible Veterans and service members may complete the registry online at https://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry/, and then schedule a free health exam. Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations after August 2, 1990, or in Afghanistan or Djibouti, Africa, after September 11, 2001, are eligible to enroll.

Registries are not used for disability compensation or pension purposes. Information about disability compensation is available online at http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/. Additional information about the registry can be found at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/burnpits/registry.asp. Read about recent milestones reached by the registry.