With support from Tester, VA moves to expand outpatient clinic in Missoula

Tester toured Missoula Clinic with VA Secretary last month; expansion of outpatient clinic will begin within the year

(U.S. Senate) – Weeks after Senator Jon Tester brought VA Secretary Bob McDonald to the VA’s Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Missoula, Tester and the VA announced plans to expand the outpatient facility to help better meet the needs of Montana veterans.

VA Montana is in the process of negotiating a five-year lease to temporarily expand the Missoula facility while also moving forward on plans to construct a larger, permanent CBOC. By leasing additional space on the grounds of the current clinic, capacity at the Missoula CBOC will be expanded by 24 percent. That expansion will allow the VA to see more patients, provide more privacy to veterans seeking care, and better ensure doctors, nurses and medical personnel have the space they need to effectively do their jobs.

“Secretary McDonald and I saw firsthand how important expanding the facility is for the brave men and women who served our nation. The expanded clinic will allow the VA to treat more veterans and provide the doctors the space they need to do their jobs,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This facility is essential for veterans in western Montana, and this expansion will allow the more folks to access the VA and improve care for veterans in our state.”

Tester, Ranking Member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds VA construction projects, has been advocating for the expansion of the outpatient facility and last year urged the VA Secretary to expand the 18,000-square-foot clinic. VA Montana worked with the federal government’s main contracting arm, the Government Services Administration, to develop an expansion plan.

Tester brought McDonald to Montana last month to hear directly from veterans about the staffing shortages at the VA, changes made under last summer’s Veterans Choice Act, and how to improve care for rural and student veterans. As part of their Montana tour, Tester showed Secretary McDonald the urgent need to expand the Missoula CBOC during their visit.