03.15.22

Daines Blasts Biden Admin for Recommending Closure of Rural Montana Veterans Health Care Facilities

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today blasted the Biden administration’s report suggesting closures and modifications of Montana veteran health care clinics across the state.

“Yesterday’s report from the VA under Biden that recommends closing veteran clinics across Montana is unacceptable and shows how out-of-touch D.C. bureaucrats are with rural America,” Daines said. “The Biden administration cannot ignore the unique obstacles that rural health care facilities face and must take that into consideration before closing clinics. These facilities provide critical care to Montana’s brave men and women who served our nation and I will not give up fighting to protect access to the care our veterans need.”

The report released yesterday recommended closing the Plentywood, Glasgow and Browning clinics and the Miles City Community Living Center. It also recommended reducing service at the Billings-Majestic Health Care Center.

These Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recommendations will carry considerable weight and be considered by a forthcoming Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission which will then produce final recommendations for Congress and the President. Senator Daines will continue to fight vigorously to protect the rural Montana VA facilities.

“The American Legion Department of Montana opposes any loss of services through the shuttering of clinics and facilities in Montana. Veteran healthcare across the country is a definitive challenge; between the uniqueness of injuries both seen and those unseen, requires a whole health approach with unlimited resources.  Montana, because of its size and remoteness doubles the difficulty for providing Veterans with the care they were both promised and earned…Closing any VA facility in Montana would just be another slap in the face of Montana Veterans who are hesitant to seek both physical and behavior health assistance because of questionable fixes over the years to remote care such as the Choice Act.” – Duane Cunningham, Montana American Legion Department Adjutant

 

Background: 

Earlier this month, Daines slammed reports of the VA quietly shuttering Montana veteran health care facilities and spoke directly with VA Secretary McDonough to share his concerns.

On February 4, Daines sent a letter to the VA calling for transparency and answers on decisions impacting Montana veterans. This includes an investigation which found 1,600 potentially ineligible providers in the VA's system, the VA consolidating Community Care offices and pending VA health care facility closures.

 

###  

Contact: Rachel Dumke,  Katie Schoettler