Tester Secures Expansion for Missoula Veterans Clinic

Senator’s Bipartisan Bill Increases Access to VA Care for Western Montana Veterans

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today pushed his bipartisan legislation through the Senate, sending it to the President’s desk, to secure a lease for a brand-new, larger VA clinic in Missoula.

Once signed into law, Tester’s bill 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.

“It’s past time that Congress expanded access to care for veterans in Western Montana,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Veterans in Missoula and the surrounding communities have had to make do with an undersized clinic and overworked staff. This facility will make sure veterans don’t have to ‘make do’ and instead give veterans access to more reliable and high-quality VA care.”

The demand for VA care is projected to increase by 43 percent in the region over the next 20 years. The larger space nearly triples the square footage of the current Missoula clinic and will provide additional parking, clinical space and health care services needed to meet the increase in local demand for VA care.

Tester has been working to secure this facility for the last two years. Once signed into law, the VA will begin securing a location in the Missoula area.

Missoula veterans praised Tester’s bill.

“I’m a 73-year-old Veteran with a few relatively minor service-connected disabilities, and I’ve been enrolled in VA healthcare for almost 20 years,” said Charles E. Abramson, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. “For all of that time, I’ve seen the same internal medicine physician – whom I love – here at our small Missoula CBOC. Because of the clinic’s space restraints, from time to time I’ve sought some medical care elsewhere, sometimes personally paying for that care. Senator Tester’s bill will allow newly-eligible veterans to gain access to healthcare alongside the rest of us without any disruptions, and get us all in to our doctors in better time.”

“Montanans can take great pride that our own Senator Jon Tester continues to lead the way in the US Senate in ensuring the needs of our military veterans are being met in a responsive, caring and meaningful way,” said Don Loranger, retired Air Force Major General in Missoula. “His recent writing of a bill to strengthen the VA’s workforce and enable veterans to access health care close to home is a case in point. So too, this bill’s provisions for enhanced Missoula based Primary and Mental Health Care, and new Specialty Care services, are a very responsive to needs of our veterans’ community. Senator Tester has been relentless on improving care for our veterans-and it is working.”

Tester secured the lease for the larger Missoula clinic as a part of bipartisan legislation to ensure veterans’ continued access to quality and timely health care. His bipartisan bill passed the Senate unanimously.