Veterans Administration

First Of Its Kind Veteran's Resource Opens In Missoula

Sep 29, 2016
Denise Juneau, right, cuts the ribbon Ed Lesofski holds up at the grand opening ceremony for the Rural Institute for Veterans Education and Research in Missoula Thursday, Sept. 29. RIVER is considered a first-of-its kind program for veterans.
Edward O'Brien

A first-of-its-kind training and intervention program for veterans celebrated its grand opening in Missoula Thursday, Sept. 29.

The Rural Institute for Veterans Education and Research – “RIVER” for short – helps vets reintegrate back into civilian life after their military service ends.

Interim Director Starts Work For VA Montana

Jun 23, 2016

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials have named an interim director for the VA Montana Health Care System.

The Montana Alzheimer’s and Dementia Workgroup announced its new Montana Alzheimer’s State Plan on Monday.
Corin Cates-Carney

After two years of work, a group is releasing a plan to combat what it calls one of the most important health care crises of our generation.


Last month we reported on problems with a health care program called Veterans Choice. It was supposed to help veterans across the country get health care appointments more quickly, in the wake of the scandal at the VA in Phoenix that exposed veterans waiting months just to be seen.

The Republican members of Montana’s congressional delegation have requested a meeting with Veterans Administration Secretary Robert McDonald in the wake of the director of the Montana VA announcing his resignation, effective July 8.

There are now five and a half weeks until Congress takes its two-month summer recess. One bill that Senator Jon Tester had hoped there would be action on by now still hasn’t advanced out of committee. It’s the proposed bi-partisan fix to the troubled Veterans Choice health care program.

Montana Senator Jon Tester, who is on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has been pushing to change Veterans Choice.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Legislation aiming to fix the troubled Veterans Choice healthcare program made progress in the Senate today.

Veterans Choice, file photo.
Courtesy Veterans Administration

Sen. Jon Tester has introduced a proposed fix for the year-old Veterans Choice program.

"This is a big deal for veterans. It’s a big deal for the VA and I think [it’ll be] a big deal once we get it passed.”

Mineral County Hospital representatives say the hospital has not been paid for services delivered under the Veterans Choice program.
Courtesy Mineral County Hospital

This week we’re reporting on a year-old program for veterans that’s supposed to make it easier for them to get health care. It’s called Veterans Choice, and yesterday we heard widespread agreement that it’s not working as Congress intended. Frustration with Veterans Choice in Montana became evident in February, when Senator Jon Tester held 28 meetings across the state to get vets' feedback on it.

Veterans Choice, file photo.
Courtesy Veterans Administration

Two years ago news broke about a scandal at the Veterans Administration hospital in Phoenix. Congressional investigators found that the hospital was covering up the lengthy waiting times that veterans faced trying to see doctors. There’s evidence that 40 veterans, maybe more, died while waiting for medical appointments.