Tester Celebrates Grand Opening of New Clinic for VA Medical Disability Exams in Missoula

Senator secured new facility to ensure Missoula veterans have timelier access to VA benefits and health care

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today joined veterans, Veterans Service Organizations, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) contractors, and VA officials for the grand opening of a new veterans disability benefits examination clinic that he secured in Missoula. Previously, Missoula-area veterans often had to travel long distances and wait long periods to receive a medical disability exam, a critical step in determining veterans benefits. 

This new facility was made possible by Tester as part of his continued efforts to improve Missoula veterans’ access to timely VA benefits and health care services. This new facility will provide more timely medical disability exams for Missoula veterans submitting claims for VA benefits, which are necessary for determining if a veteran’s medical conditions are related to military service and the disability rating a veteran will receive for their service-connected conditions.

“Any veteran who has applied for VA benefits knows that medical disability exams are a critical part of applying for benefits,” Tester said. “However, too often they are the most time-consuming part. So when I heard from vets in Missoula that accessing these exams was taking months and that folks were having to drive hundreds of miles to get them—I knew we had to do better for our vets.”

Tester continued, “That’s why I asked VA and Leidos QTC to open a new veterans exam location right here in Missoula to provide medical disability exams for VA benefits close to home. Our veterans deserve a VA system where their claims are fairly, accurately, and quickly decided. And this facility is going to play a big part in helping do that and improving Missoula veterans’ access to timelier VA benefits—especially PACT Act benefits—by offering hundreds of medical disability exams a month.”

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to service local and national government agencies,” said Larry Schaefer, Leidos QTC’s chief executive officer. “We’re honored and excited to support examinees through this new clinic.”

Medical disability exams are the most critical and time-consuming part of applying for VA benefits, and one of the biggest issues for Montana veterans is how far they must travel to receive an exam. After hearing from Missoula veterans that obtaining an exam in the Missoula area had been challenging, Tester called on Leidos QTC Health Services, a third-party disability claims processor, to expand Montana veterans’ access to disability exams. Following Tester’s push, this new QTC Leidos Missoula clinic will offer general medical, mental health, and audiology exams to area veterans closer to home and ensure VA can provide veterans timely access to the benefits they have earned—including new benefits for toxic-exposed veterans and survivors under the PACT Act.

VA partners with its medical disability contractors, including Leidos QTC Health Services, to increase its capacity to process benefits claims through fulfilling medical disability exam requests. Since October 2023, VA has completed more than 863,000 claims for benefits. Through its medical disability examination contractors, VA has completed more than one million medical disability exam requests during the same timeframe and will continue to partner with its contractors to tackle the remaining more than 405,000 pending exam requests. 

Tester championed the PACT Act and shepherded its passage through Congress in 2022. As Chairman, he fought tirelessly for years alongside veterans and Veterans Service Organizations in Montana and across the nation to deliver generations of toxic-exposed veterans and survivors their earned health care and benefits under the PACT Act.


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