Tester Gathers Input from Montana Veterans to Reform VA's Choice Program

Missoula Meeting was Senator's Fourth Public Event in the Past Week

(Missoula, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today met with Missoula-area veterans, advocates and health care providers to discuss the future of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Choice Program and how it can be improved for Montanans.

Tester is traveling the state to meet with Montana veterans face-to-face before the Choice Program’s funds expire later this year, which will require the Senate to revamp the VA’s community care initiatives.

“Montana veterans know how the Choice Program works better than anyone,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Today I got feedback that will be instrumental in crafting the future of community care and making sure that veterans are getting the quality care they have earned.”

Tester today addressed VA wait times and scheduling issues. He recently pushed VA Montana to schedule appointments for veterans directly. As a result of Tester’s actions, veterans will soon be able to schedule appointments with their local doctor directly through VA Montana, rather than government contractors like Health Net.

Tester also heard from veterans about the need for comprehensive care for women veterans. As more women veterans turn to the VA for their health care, Tester introduced bipartisan legislation to change the culture at the VA to better meet the needs of women veterans.

Earlier this year, Tester stood with President Trump as he signed Tester’s bipartisan bill to improve the Choice Program in Montana. Tester noted it was an important step in revamping the community care program for Montana veterans. Tester is now working with Republican Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Johnny Isakson to draft bipartisan legislation that will reform the Choice Program to ensure it is delivering timely, quality health care for veterans who can’t get the care they need at the VA.

Today’s listening session was Tester’s fourth publicly advised listening session in the past week.

On Tuesday Tester heard from veterans in Billings. Veterans who want to provide feedback to Tester are encouraged to do so HERE.