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State-of-the-art VA clinic opens in Missoula

 David J. Thatcher VA Clinic in Missoula, MT.
U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs
David J. Thatcher VA Clinic in Missoula, MT.

A brand new, state-of-the-art VA clinic opens next week in western Montana. Officials say the Missoula facility outshines its predecessor in every way.

The days of Missoula-area veterans seeking VA health care services in a cramped, undersized clinic are over. The new 60,000 square foot David J. Thatcher VA Clinic just east of Missoula International Airport opens Feb. 1.

Named for the decorated Montanan who participated in the 1942 Doolittle Raid on Japan, the clinic is at least twice as big as the older facility.

Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester attended Friday's grand opening ceremony. Tester, a Democrat, is Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“I think it’s going to be a whole new world for the veterans in western Montana, particularly those who live close to Missoula, to have access to a first-rate medical care team that’s going to be pretty darn comprehensive in their ability to provide health care.”

Veterans will now be able to meet with multiple providers based out of a single appointment room. They’ll have access to traditional and enhanced health care services including primary care, mental health care, radiology, and providers with experience treating women veterans.

Tester says the clinic is facing some initial staffing challenges, but vows that every effort will be made to get it fully staffed as soon as possible.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at