Groundbreaking set for VA Clinic expansion

Billings Gazette

by Cindy Uken

Groundbreaking for the expansion of the Billings Veterans Affairs Clinic is set for Oct. 19.

Once complete, the expanded facility will provide outpatient surgery and specialty services to an estimated 11,000 veterans in Montana and about 10,000 veterans from neighboring Wyoming. The new facility will offer many of the services now available at Fort Harrison, Montana’s only VA hospital.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has led the charge to expand the clinic, pushing for the new site when he brought then-VA Secretary James Peake to Montana in 2008. He also delivered the keynote address at the new clinic’s dedication in 2009, where he called for its expansion.

Tester is scheduled to be on hand for the groundbreaking.

“Expanding services at the Billings VA clinic will make sure veterans can access the care they earned closer to home,” Tester said. “Montana veterans deserve the best facilities and health care providers available, and I’ll make sure the expansion is done right.”

In addition to a same-day surgery center, the expanded clinic will offer new services in audiology, physical and occupational therapy, dental care and magnetic resonance imaging. Additional space will be added for existing primary-care services.