In an effort to better connect with the veterans for whom they provide care, Robley Rex Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center representatives have begun traveling throughout their service area to host town hall-style events, and the April meeting was held at American Legion Post 81 in Leitchfield on Tuesday afternoon.

With dozens of veterans in attendance, Robley Rex VA Medical Center Executive Director Jo-Ann Ginsberg provided updates on the local VA and its services, as well as information on expanded care brought about by the PACT Act.

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances, as well as Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 combat veterans.

VA staff members were on hand to provide screenings to veterans in attendance Tuesday to determine if they qualify for these expanded benefits, but applications are also available online at Veterans may also call 1-800-MyVA411.

Ginsberg said that class action lawsuits are being filed as a result of the PACT Act, but veterans who take part in one will not be permitted to file a VA claim for benefits through the PACT Act.

“You can’t do both,” she said.

Those with further questions about the PACT Act are encouraged to attend an informational event scheduled for next Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at UAW Local 862, located at 3000 Fern Valley Rd. in Louisville, Kentucky.

Additionally, Ginsberg said the COMPACT Act is now in effect to expand suicide prevention services for veterans.

Veterans in acute suicidal crisis can now go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost — including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit.

Ginsberg also shared that the national suicide hotline, 988, now has a direct line for veterans. After dialing 988, press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans can also call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 to connect with responders, and the Veterans Crisis Line is also available by chat ( and/or text (838255).

“In 2022, we had the largest decrease in veteran suicide,” Ginsberg said, adding that preventing veteran suicide is the VA’s top clinical priority.

Ginsberg also provided an update on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and said that, while they will always remain free for veterans, after the national emergency has ended on May 11, they will no longer be free for spouses and caregivers.

Ginsberg also discussed the VA’s expanded programs to compensate caregivers and address veteran homelessness.

On Oct. 1, 2022, the VA expanded the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) to include eligible veterans and family caregivers of all eras. The expansion specifically opens eligibility to include veterans who served after May 7, 1975 and before Sept. 11, 2001.

Ginsberg said that, when veterans have difficulty caring for themselves in their own home, if they meet specific qualifications, they can select a caregiver, whom may receive a stipend for providing care to the veteran.

For more information, visit or call the Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274.

The VA also strives to ensure no veteran goes homeless by providing assistance to those who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless due to financial hardship, unemployment, addiction, depression, or transition from incarceration.

For more information about this program or to seek assistance, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-424-3838.

Ginsberg provided updates on a number of new clinics and clinic expansions as well.

She said the new Louisville VA hospital construction project is roughly 25% complete and is slated for completion in early 2026. This project is expected to add about 1,000 parking spaces to the area.

Additionally, the PACT Act approved a new outpatient Elizabethtown VA clinic, which is planned for 2025-2027.

Lastly, Ginsberg concluded the program with a question and answer portion for veterans in attendance.

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