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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Tester On Tour For Feedback On Veterans' Healthcare Program

Sen. Jon Tester
Sen. Jon Tester

Sen. Jon Tester’s staff is on tour around Montana this month to get feedback on the $10 billion Veterans' Choice program.
Veterans' Choice is supposed to make it easier for vets to get health care quickly, and for rural vets to get care closer to home. The idea is that veterans can go to local health care providers instead of traveling sometimes long distances to VA facilities if they’ve waited more than 30 days for an appointment, or if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical provider.

Veterans' Choice was authorized in late 2014. Last month, Senator Tester said it’s not working as well as he’d hoped.

"For some vets I think there’s some benefits. For other vets there’s a lot of frustration. Too much red tape, too much time being spent on hold," Tester said.

Tester’s staff started a tour of 28 Montana towns to get veterans’ feedback on Veterans Choice in Lewistown last Wednesday. They’ll be in Hardin tomorrow and in Dillon on Thursday. See the complete schedule of Veterans' Choice meetings across Montana this month.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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