The cost of Parkinson’s disease treatment for the families of veterans who served at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 will now be covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In a Nov. 10 release, VA said that an unknown number of people developed illnesses after serving at the Marine Corps base at Jacksonville, N.C, due to contamination in the drinking water that supplied the base.
“Veterans and their families deserve no-cost health care for the conditions they developed due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
These family members are also eligible for health care reimbursement for esophageal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, renal toxicity, miscarriage, hepatic steatosis, female infertility, myelodysplastic syndromes, scleroderma, neurobehavioral effects, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
"We're proud to add Parkinson's to the list of conditions that are covered for veteran family members and we implore anyone who may be living with this disease -- or any of the other conditions covered by the VA's Camp Lejeune Family Member Program -- to apply for assistance today," added Elnahal.
A recent study in JAMA Neurology has shown that the risk of Parkinson’s disease is 70% for veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune. The study suggested that trichloroethylene, an industrial degreaser once widely used at Camp Lejeune, is linked to Parkinson’s.
The benefits expansion is thanks to the Camp Lejeune Family Members Program, part of the PACT Act – which extended VA health care and benefits to veterans of all eras exposed to toxins as a result of their military service.
Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.