VA Clinic Dedication
BILLINGS – A tremendous upgrade in the care of Montana veterans was celebrated Friday in Billings with the dedication of the new VA clinic.
"Today we have the opportunity to celebrate a very fine facility," said Montana Senator Jon Tester.
The new clinic is located at 1775 Spring Creek Lane and offers three times more exam rooms than the previous facility. "We like to see our veterans taken care of,” said Mervin Gunderson of the Montana American Legion, “this clinic here, just tremendous, and in Montana it's absolutely critical that we have these in place."
The clinic is run by a larger staff and includes a radiology department. "Really, in the past few years we've seen some dramatic changes," said Gunderson.
Tester said vets played just as big a role as he did. "They were the folks who applied the pressure on the ground and lived through quite honestly some bureaucratic bologna."
He said our veterans deserve nothing less, "a lot of them have really served this country and the military in a way that we'd be proud of them. Now it's really our obligation to step up and meet their needs for healthcare when they get back home."
The clinic's new acting director says phase two of the project should begin soon. They'll be looking to expand facilities and become a health care center, adding labs and a pharmacy. "We're not done yet," said Tester, "because the truth is we have much more to do."
American Legion officials said mental health care tops the to-do list. "We have a dramatic shortage in the mental health care department," said Gunderson. "We know the issues around mental health, said Tester, “the job's going to be here for a while."
While there is still much work ahead, many are savoring Friday's milestone.