veterans

Montana News
6:23 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Tester, VA Director Clash Over 'Closure' Of Psych Unit

Credit CC-BY-2.0

The acting director of veterans health care in Montana is on the defensive after Senator Jon Tester said the VA health center in Helena is temporarily closing its inpatient mental health unit.

In a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald in Washington, Tester said, “staffing levels at the VA in Montana are at the point where it can no longer safely staff the eight bed acute inpatient section of the mental health facility at Ft. Harrison” in Helena.

Johnny Ginnity, acting director at Ft. Harrison says, that doesn’t mean the mental health ward is being closed.

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Veteran's Adminstration
5:22 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Sen. Tester: Hiring Delays For Montana VA Director 'Completely Unacceptable'

Sen. Jon Tester
Credit Jon Tester

It's been eight months since the Montana VA had a permanent director and Senator Jon Tester says he's fed up with the delay.

Tester fired-off a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald this week calling it "completely unacceptable".

The Democrat says he only recently found out that a hire was imminent about three months ago. However,  the Office of Management and Budget found a "screw-up" that scuttled the process.

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University Infrastructure
4:13 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Montana University System Requests $53 Million In Bonds For Infrastructure

The Montana University System is asking lawmakers for permission to issue just over $53 million in bonds.

The money would be used to renovate existing buildings to protect the life and safety of students, faculty and staff;  bring the buildings up to code; and for improvements to classrooms and laboratories.

Among the projects: the library building at Montana State Billings. It has the largest lecture classrooms on campus, but it doesn’t comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Improvements Promised
12:18 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Veterans Sound Off At VA Town Hall In Missoula

VA Montana Health Care leaders, including Acting Director Johnny Ginnity, met with a crowd of over 100 veterans in Missoula Wednesday as part of national series of town hall sessions meant to rebuilt trust.
Credit Christopher Allen

Over 100 veterans met with Montana VA Health Care leaders in Missoula Wednesday night, some to ask, “Why can’t I get care?

The leaders came to Missoula at the direction of VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who’s called for town hall meetings to get feedback from veterans to try to rebuild their trust in the wake of national criticism for long delays in treatment and cover-ups about false scheduling records at VA facilities in Phoenix.

The vets at the meeting in Missoula sounded happy with their VA doctors, but it’s the agency’s bureaucracy that has some frustrated and worried.

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Senator John Walsh
4:55 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

In Final Senate Speech, Walsh Highlights Veteran Suicides, Money In Politics, Public Lands

Senator John Walsh used his last speech on the Senate floor this morning to talk about money in politics, protecting Montana public lands and veteran suicides.

In August, Walsh dropped out of his Senate reelection bid amid a plagiarism scandal.

Walsh said 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

"If this country were losing 22 service members a day on the battlefield, Americans would be in the streets protesting."

On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed a bill to reduce vet suicides, it’s now before the Senate.

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Montana News
3:53 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Closed primaries, V.A. craziness and campaign chicanery

Over the weekend, Montana Republicans held their platform convention in Billings.  Chuck Johnson of Lee Newspapers reports that Republicans, "Irked at what they believe is Democrats interfering in their primary elections. . . called for closing their primaries and allowing only registered Republicans to vote in them."  Delegates also supported a resolution to turn over federal public lands to the state.

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Commentary - June 17th, 2014
2:40 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Veteran's Viewpoint

This is Dan Gallagher with Veteran’s Viewpoint.

There’s a lot to talk about in the veterans’ world these days.  For example, on May 30th VA Secretary Shinseki resigned that position--but I find neither pleasure nor optimism in that action, mostly because of the way it came to be.

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