Yes, we know that Jon Tester convinced the VA to open a new “Vet Center,” which will “provide confidential mental health screenings, suicide prevention, family counseling and other services” according to the IR.
This center will open in October, meaning the same problems I profiled in February will remain for another six months.
On top of this, I don’t think this Vet Center will accomplish much…unless the goal is to distract the press from asking Tester about veterans…or even keeping the veterans issue front and center.
If the goal is to put a band-aid on the situation, glossing over the problem with another meaningless gesture, then yes, this does that.
For you see, when we open a new center in an existing veterans center, one that’s only going to be staffed by “one mental health counselor and one outreach specialist,” I don’t see much happening.
When I say “much happening” I’m really talking about the glaring problems the VA has with even seeing veterans.
- 25 days.
That’s the wait time for specialized care, and I know from other reports that veterans are having a helluva time on other issues as well.
- Within 2 weeks.
That’s the average wait time for 76% of Montana veterans when they’re looking for care.
- Disdain for federal money promises.
Private clinics hate taking federal money. Mainly, how are veterans even going to use these silly choice cards when so many private medical providers won’t accept government money?
KGVO Radio here in Missoula profiled the problems that Iraq/Afghanistan veterans are having with Fort Harrison over this issue.
The bottom line is that private providers that are supposed to take the choice card hate Medicare or Medicaid or whatever the hell the federal money that veterans provide is called.
How does that help veterans?
For the most part, expect the VA problems to get worse. I hoped Tester would actually do something for Montana veterans this week.
I see he’s done virtually nothing. Oh, and you’ll have to wait until October to get that.
Keep up the good work!