Expansion of Billings VA clinic approved

Associated Press

BILLINGS (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester says the Department of Veterans Affairs has approved a plan to double the size of the Billings VA clinic, creating as many as 70 jobs.

The Montana Democrat made the announcement Friday, days after he pushed the secretary of Veterans Affairs to approve the second phase of construction after a monthslong delay. Once construction is complete, the clinic is expected to provide several new services, including walk-in and specialty services unavailable at the existing clinic, dental services, mental health care services and some outpatient surgeries.

The clinic will offer many of the services now available at Montana’s only VA hospital at Fort Harrison near Helena.

Funding for the expansion will come from the VA’s regular construction budget. But Tester says the House is considering cutting $278 million from that budget, which could jeopardize the planned expansion.