MTPR

Veterans Administration

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Montana is giving the public a yearly review of its work tonight at Helena College. A spokesperson for the Montana VA says there is a shift with the department to be more transparent with its day-to-day operations.

Montana VA Health Care System Director Dr. Kathy Berger will deliver the "State of the Montana VA" address beginning at 5:30 p.m., October 20, at the Helena College Lecture Hall.

Secretary of the Veterans Administration David Shulkin at an event in Helena, MT August 21, 2017.
Eric Whitney

The Secretary of the Veterans Administration visited Montana today, and made an announcement that many veterans will welcome.

At an event in Helena, Senator Jon Tester let the news slip before Secretary David Shulkin had a chance to.

"The VA Secretary is going to announce at some point in time today — I don't want to take away any of your thunder – some rules that he is going to modify to allow rest homes to be built in rural areas. The Butte boys that are here ..."

Senator Jon Tester listens to Barb Korenberg from Missoula Skin Care Center at a veterans health care forum in Missoula Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
Eric Whitney

The Veterans health system in Montana is preparing to roll out a new effort aimed at fixing problems with the troubled “Veterans Choice” program.

Choice, launched by Congress in 2014, was supposed to help vets who live far from from VA facilities, or who have waited more than 30 days for care, get appointments in the private sector faster. It has been called a failure by many, although some vets have reported that Choice has improved their care.

It's a fix that hasn't fixed much, but the troubled Veterans Choice program has been extended anyway.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed a bill extending the program intended to speed veterans' access to health care beyond its original August end point.

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