Tester wraps up Montana tour with VA Secretary, promises results after a productive visit

On final day of tour, veterans demand action from VA

(BILLINGS, Mont.)-Senator Jon Tester promised results for Montana veterans after completing his Montana tour today with VA Secretary Bob McDonald in Billings.

Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, told veterans he would hold the VA accountable for delivering change to the VA and improving facilities in order to increase access to quality care for Montana veterans. During their tour of Montana, Tester focused on the need to hire more staff and expand facilities to decrease wait times for VA patients.

“There are too many obstacles for Montana veterans. Whether it’s not enough docs or too many miles between them and their clinic, veterans deserve better,” Tester said. “This visit allowed the Secretary to see Montana facilities first hand and hear directly from veterans. We now have a foundation to move forward and make essential improvements to the VA in Montana.”

Today Tester and McDonald hosted a listening session for veterans in Billings and then toured the Billings VA Health Care Center. During the listening session veterans questioned McDonald on the need to better address women’s health care needs, Agent Orange and mental health treatment.

In Helena and Missoula yesterday, Tester and McDonald hosted multiple listening sessions and toured VA facilities, including the temporarily closed VA mental health unit at Ft. Harrison in Helena and the Missoula Community Based Outpatient Clinic, which is in need of expansion.

This is the third time Tester has brought a VA Secretary to Montana to hear concerns of Montana veterans. He brought Secretary James Peake to Montana in 2008, and Secretary Eric Shinseki to Montana in 2011.