Groundbreaking ceremony set for new VA clinic in Missoula

MISSOULA, Mont. — A groundbreaking ceremony will take place Friday, for the new Missoula Veterans’ Affairs Clinic.

The Community-Based Outpatient Clinic will be built on a vacant lot at Mary Jane Boulevard and West Broadway.

It received federal funding in the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017.

Both U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester will attend the groundbreaking.

The CBOC will have an estimated 52,557 energy efficient net usable square feet and serve approximately 47,000 area veterans with Primary Care, Mental Health, and Specialty Care services.

The following was sent out by U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs:

Montana VA Health Care System (MTVAHCS) is excited to announce the official launch of construction for the new David J. Thatcher VA Clinic in Missoula by holding a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, July 10. The ceremony will be livestreamed to the MTVAHCS Facebook page beginning at 11:00 a.m. (Please note that attendance has been kept limited and livestreaming access made available in order to limit the size of gathering due to COVID-19 safety precautions.)

The new David J. Thatcher VA Clinic will be located at 3885 West Broadway and will be approximately 60,000 square feet in size and situated on eight acres. The current clinic on Palmer Street is roughly 20,000 square feet and is divided between two buildings. The new state-of-the-art clinic will be in one contiguous space and designed around the VA’s integrated PACT (Patient Aligned Care Team) model.

The PACT design model is patient centric. In the new David J. Thatcher Clinic, Veterans will remain in a single room. Instead of a Veteran going to each provider, each provider comes to the Veteran in a “one stop shop” approach. This model integrates and coordinates care with additional clinical services, such as social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, mental health practitioners, and others.

The PACT design model best serves Veteran patients and staff by co-locating clinicians to enhance real-time decision making, streamlines communications, and brings care and service support directly to the Veteran to enhance flexible and adaptable care.

“Montana’s Veterans deserve and have earned access to the best health care our country can offer,” said Montana VA Health Care System’s Director, Dr. Judy Hayman. “The new David J. Thatcher VA Clinic will deliver Veteran-centric care in the largest MTVAHCS clinic in northwestern Montana.”

The new Broadway location will be easy to access from the interstate, is situated on a bus line, and will have increased parking (approximately 260 parking spots with 44 handicap accessible parking spots). The new clinic is projected to be completed in the winter of 2021. The current David J. Thatcher VA Clinic, which is located on 2687 Palmer Street Suite C, will continue to serve Veterans until the new clinic opens.

The Missoula Clinic is named for David Thatcher, who was an outstanding Montanan and U.S. Army Air Corps Veteran. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mr. Thatcher volunteered to serve as a tail gunner for a high-risk mission to attack targets deep within Japanese-controlled territory. This counterattack would be known to history as the Doolittle Raid. After finishing the bombing mission and running low on fuel, his aircraft crash-landed near the coast of China. Mr. Thatcher was instrumental in helping the crew reach safety following the crash and for his actions during the Doolittle Raid, he was awarded the Silver Star. A few years later, the actor Robert Walker portrayed Corporal Thatcher on the silver screen in “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” After the war, Mr. Thatcher embarked on a career with the U.S. Postal Service and married his sweetheart, Dawn. Their marriage spanned seven decades until he passed away in June 2016 at age 94. Dawn Thatcher passed away in May 2020.

The MTVAHCS serves over 47,000 enrolled Veterans across Montana—an area roughly 147,000 square miles in size. Veterans are cared for by a staff of nearly 1,200 at 17 sites of care across the state. One third of Montana VA employees are Veterans.