Tester to VA Secretary: lack of VA Montana director is ‘completely unacceptable’

Senator outlines key obstacles to veterans’ care at VA Montana

(U.S. Senate) – After eight months without a permanent VA Montana director, Senator Jon Tester has some harsh words for the VA.

Tester, in a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald, called the department’s delay in hiring a permanent director at VA Montana “completely unacceptable” and warned that he will continue to call Secretary McDonald until the position is filled.

Tester, who helped author the VA reform bill that passed Congress last summer, outlined a number of issues he hears about from Montana veterans and VA Montana employees, including the hiring and retention of qualified medical staff.

“The next few months are a critical time for the VA’s mission of serving veterans as it moves forward with implementation of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act,” Tester said. “I fought hard to ensure the Choice Act included a number of provisions to give the VA more tools to recruit and retain quality medical professions, but I am concerned that the VA will not be able to address underlying workforce shortages if it cannot even meet the needs of its current workforce.”

The Senator held a statewide listening tour with Montana veterans last summer to hear specific examples about obstacles to care at the VA. This year, he has already introduced a number of bills to address access to care issues for Montana veterans.

Tester’s letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald is available online HERE.