Tester Announces Team of Experts Coming to VA Montana - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Tester Announces Team of Experts Coming to VA Montana

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester today announced that, at his request, VA Secretary David Shulkin will be sending a team of experts to VA Montana to review staffing shortages, improve scheduling, and address the backlog of referrals for care within or outside of the VA (called “consults”).

Tester has been pushing the VA to address the backlog of pending consults. At Tester’s request, the VA’s Inspector General launched an investigation and published a report with recommendations on how to reduce wait times for Montana veterans. 

After hearing that VA has not taken appropriate steps to substantially reduce the consult backlog, Tester spoke with Secretary Shulkin and received assurance that a team of experts will be deployed to VA Montana to address the situation, and that additional staff will be hired to assist in those efforts.

“Staffing shortages have been plaguing the VA for years, and if you compound that with the Trump Administration’s hiring freeze, it makes it nearly impossible to reduce wait times and backlogs in places like Montana,” said Tester.  “That’s why I demanded the VA bring in an outside team of experts to scrub the process and ensure that the VA is addressing this situation once and for all.  I urge VA Montana leadership to keep their shoulders to the wheel and ensure that veterans aren’t experiencing delays in care.”

Tester is in the process of negotiating a bipartisan bill with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) to overhaul the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to seek care outside the VA.  All the major veterans service organizations have urged Tester not to use this as an opportunity to privatize the VA because they like the care they receive at the VA once they get in the door.

  • LocalMore>>

  • Double-wide trailer fire in Lockwood deemed suspicious

    Double-wide trailer fire in Lockwood deemed suspicious

    Friday, November 24 2017 1:08 AM EST2017-11-24 06:08:54 GMT

    Fire alert tonight, Lockwood Fire Department works into the night on the scene of a double-wide trailer fire that started this afternoon.

    Fire alert tonight, Lockwood Fire Department works into the night on the scene of a double-wide trailer fire that started this afternoon.

  • Black Friday Sales Begin

    Black Friday Sales Begin

    Friday, November 24 2017 12:32 AM EST2017-11-24 05:32:41 GMT

    Best Buy sees long lines for early Black Friday sales.

    Best Buy sees long lines for early Black Friday sales.

  • Structure fire reported in Lockwood

    Structure fire reported in Lockwood

    Thursday, November 23 2017 7:35 PM EST2017-11-24 00:35:04 GMT
    Around 4:20 p.m., a report came of a structure fire in Lockwood off Dickie Road. Our reporter on the scene has not spoken with authorities but says it appears to be one or two trailers on fire. Fire officials believe it was unoccupied at the time. There is no word yet on how the fire started.
    Around 4:20 p.m., a report came of a structure fire in Lockwood off Dickie Road. Our reporter on the scene has not spoken with authorities but says it appears to be one or two trailers on fire. Fire officials believe it was unoccupied at the time. There is no word yet on how the fire started.
  • MontanaMore>>

  • Big Sky Resort, ways you can save money on the slope

    Big Sky Resort, ways you can save money on the slope

    Friday, November 24 2017 6:34 AM EST2017-11-24 11:34:12 GMT

    Skiing can be an expensive hobby but, Big Sky Resort has a bunch of deals that can help save you money for when you want to hit the slope. 

    Skiing can be an expensive hobby but, Big Sky Resort has a bunch of deals that can help save you money for when you want to hit the slope. 

  • Black Friday Sales Begin

    Black Friday Sales Begin

    Friday, November 24 2017 12:32 AM EST2017-11-24 05:32:41 GMT

    Best Buy sees long lines for early Black Friday sales.

    Best Buy sees long lines for early Black Friday sales.

  • Phillips Co. wildfire sends smoke plumes over 100 miles

    Phillips Co. wildfire sends smoke plumes over 100 miles

    Thursday, November 23 2017 11:51 PM EST2017-11-24 04:51:09 GMT

    A wildfire continues to burn in Phillips County Thursday evening. There's still no known cause or exact acreage on that wildfire, which is burning southeast of Malta.  The flames erupted earlier this afternoon. According to the National Weather Service in Glasgow, smoke plumes appearing on radar were stretching over 100 miles long. It is also unclear at this time whether structures are threatened.  We'll continue to update you as we learn more information.   

    A wildfire continues to burn in Phillips County Thursday evening. There's still no known cause or exact acreage on that wildfire, which is burning southeast of Malta.  The flames erupted earlier this afternoon. According to the National Weather Service in Glasgow, smoke plumes appearing on radar were stretching over 100 miles long. It is also unclear at this time whether structures are threatened.  We'll continue to update you as we learn more information.   

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Double-wide trailer fire in Lockwood deemed suspicious

    Double-wide trailer fire in Lockwood deemed suspicious

    Friday, November 24 2017 1:08 AM EST2017-11-24 06:08:54 GMT

    Fire alert tonight, Lockwood Fire Department works into the night on the scene of a double-wide trailer fire that started this afternoon.

    Fire alert tonight, Lockwood Fire Department works into the night on the scene of a double-wide trailer fire that started this afternoon.

  • Thanksgiving stabbing under investigation in Billings

    Thanksgiving stabbing under investigation in Billings

    Thursday, November 23 2017 6:55 PM EST2017-11-23 23:55:22 GMT

    Billings police are investigating an early morning stabbing that sent one man to the hospital, 

    Billings police are investigating an early morning stabbing that sent one man to the hospital, 

  • Structure fire reported in Lockwood

    Structure fire reported in Lockwood

    Thursday, November 23 2017 7:35 PM EST2017-11-24 00:35:04 GMT
    Around 4:20 p.m., a report came of a structure fire in Lockwood off Dickie Road. Our reporter on the scene has not spoken with authorities but says it appears to be one or two trailers on fire. Fire officials believe it was unoccupied at the time. There is no word yet on how the fire started.
    Around 4:20 p.m., a report came of a structure fire in Lockwood off Dickie Road. Our reporter on the scene has not spoken with authorities but says it appears to be one or two trailers on fire. Fire officials believe it was unoccupied at the time. There is no word yet on how the fire started.
  • Knife River faces OSHA citations not related to Tuesday death

    Knife River faces OSHA citations not related to Tuesday death

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 8:36 PM EST2017-11-23 01:36:03 GMT

    The man who died at Knife River last night has been identified as 28-year-old Justin Cruea. Cruea was a Laurel resident and an employee of Knife River. 

    The man who died at Knife River last night has been identified as 28-year-old Justin Cruea. Cruea was a Laurel resident and an employee of Knife River. 

  • Billings continues to face meth problems

    Billings continues to face meth problems

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 10:26 PM EST2017-11-23 03:26:16 GMT

    Billings has seen an uptick in violent crimes lately. There have been three police involved shootings since October 18th and a body recovered from a field off South 32nd Street. 

    Billings has seen an uptick in violent crimes lately. There have been three police involved shootings since October 18th and a body recovered from a field off South 32nd Street. 

  • UPDATE: Decapitated body found on S. 32nd St. W. identified

    UPDATE: Decapitated body found on S. 32nd St. W. identified

    Monday, November 20 2017 2:11 PM EST2017-11-20 19:11:11 GMT

    Body found in field off of South 32nd Street in Billings has been identified.

    Body found in field off of South 32nd Street in Billings has been identified.

  • Our Apologies

    The page you requested is currently unavailable. Pages on this site are constantly being revised, updated, and occasionally removed. You may have followed an outdated link or have outdated pages in your

    You have reached a page which is currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please use your browser's BACK button to return to the previous page

  • Black Friday Sales Begin

    Black Friday Sales Begin

    Friday, November 24 2017 12:32 AM EST2017-11-24 05:32:41 GMT

    Best Buy sees long lines for early Black Friday sales.

    Best Buy sees long lines for early Black Friday sales.