Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Bozeman veterans clinic to move into new building next summer

by Shaylee Ragar

Bozeman’s veterans clinic will move into a new building next summer that’s twice the size of its existing location.

According to a news release from Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s office, the Department of Veterans Affairs clinic will lease and move into a 12,000-square-foot space by summer 2021. It will offer primary care, behavioral health, laboratory, and telehealth services. The address has not yet been announced.

Tester, a Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a statement that it’s an exciting development for Bozeman-area veterans.

“I fought hard to secure funding for this facility because Montana veterans have sacrificed a great deal on behalf of this nation-and deserve to return home to quality care that’s convenient. I’ll continue to work as hard as I know how to ensure this project stays on track,” Tester said.

Tester cosponsored a bipartisan bill earlier this year that aimed to streamline approval of VA medical leases and provide the department tools to facilitate construction, leasing and refurbishing of facilities across the country. A spokesperson for Tester said the money for the move in Bozeman will come from the Department of Veterans Affairs fiscal year 2020 budget.

Republican U.S Senator Steve Daines said in an emailed statement that the announcement is great news for Bozeman’s veterans.

“A new VA clinic will ensure our veterans in the area have greater access to the care they deserve,” Daines said.

Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte said in an emailed that “Montana veterans earned and deserve access to convenient, high-quality health care. This new clinic, right here in Bozeman, will increase access and improve services for Montana veterans in our community.”

Randy Kemp, adjutant for American Legion Post #14 in Gallatin County, said the veterans clinic has needed to find new space for some time because the clinic at 300 N. Wilson Ave., is set to be demolished. He said the new space will help the clinic keep up with Bozeman’s growing veteran population.

Kemp said the clinic offers good care, although it’s somewhat limited. For example, patients have had to go to the hospital to get blood work done.

The new clinic will have its own lab. Kemp said he’s more concerned that the clinic is short on staff.

“I’m sure the new facility will be state of the art. But it won’t do any good if you don’t have people to staff it,” Kemp said.