Tester Helps Break Ground on Missoula’s David J. Thatcher VA Clinic

Following Senator’s efforts, new VA facility to serve Missoula-area veterans and provide 154 percent more space than previous clinic

U.S. Senator Jon Tester joined local, state, and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials today at the groundbreaking ceremony for the David J. Thatcher VA Clinic, the new Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Missoula that he shepherded through the Senate.

“For far too long, veterans in Western Montana had to make do with an undersized clinic and overworked staff—but no more,” said Tester. “This new facility will provide health care to many of Montana’s 47,000 veterans who use VA services, and give doctors, nurses, and other medical staff an expanded and high-quality space to do their jobs—and I was thrilled to help jump-start it in the Senate. I’ll continue fighting tooth and nail to make sure that this project stays on track, and that VA does its part in delivering a facility that is worthy of our veterans’ service.”

The new clinic will serve many of the 47,000 Montana veterans that use VA services and offer Primary Care, Mental Health, and Specialty Care services. The CBOC is being constructed on vacant land at the southwest corner of West Broadway Street and Mary Jane Boulevard in Missoula, and will have 52,557 energy efficient net usable square feet. The project is set to be completed by Fall 2021.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester fought for the new facility as part of his bipartisan VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017, which aimed to expand the capacity of VA to better serve veterans. He successfully shepherd this critical legislation through the Senate, and it became law in August of 2017. The law authorized the new Missoula CBOC lease—which will have 154 percent more space than the previous clinic—allowing VA to serve more patients, provide more privacy to veterans seeking care, and better ensure doctors, nurses and other medical personnel have the space they need to effectively do their jobs.

For years, Tester has been working to improve Missoula-area veterans’ access to health care and VA facilities. In January 2014, Tester called on then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to speed-up the expansion of Missoula’s current VA outpatient clinic. The following year, he welcomed then-VA Secretary Bob McDonald to Montana to tour the existing clinic, so that he could see firsthand the importance of expanding the facility. Following Tester’s sustained efforts, VA announced in 2019 that Missoula will be receiving a new CBOC to better serve veterans.