Tester Pushes VA to Provide Prompt and Thorough Responses to Custer County Officials

Senator Aims to Ensure Care is not Disrupted for Local Veterans if County Assumes Ownership of VA Facility

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today called upon the VA to respond promptly and thoroughly to questions raised by county officials in regards to a potential transfer of ownership of the Miles City Veterans Affairs Medical Complex to Custer County.

In his letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald, Tester sought an assurance that any transfer of ownership will not disrupt care for local veterans and reaffirm the VA’s commitment to maintaining a strong presence in Miles City.

“I request that the VA respond in a prompt and thorough manner to requests from county officials to ensure Custer County is ultimately able to make an informed decision that most benefits the community and does not in any way disrupt care for local veterans,” Tester wrote.

Tester also confirmed that there is no timetable for the county to assume ownership of the VA facility in Miles City. Tester received clarification from the VA earlier this week that the 90 day timetable that was announced during a community meeting last month is no longer applicable.

“After voicing strong concerns about this matter with the VA, I was pleased that a subsequent decision was made to do away with such a timeframe, and to recommit to resolving any issues with Custer County prior to the conveyance of the property’s ownership,” Tester added.

In his letter, Tester stated that the VA needs to share five specific and detailed requests before the county can make the decision to assume ownership of the VA facility:

  • The utility usage, including but not limited to electricity, natural gas, water, and sewer.
  • The square footage and rental rate of the current tenants’ leased space. 
  • The status and documentation of any environmental hazards.
  • The status of any infrastructure maintenance or upgrade, including date and type of material. 
  • The financial details of all expenses and revenues for the last five years.

Tester is sending representatives to the community meeting in Miles City tonight to hear from county officials, veterans, and local residents.

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