Fort Harrison hosts town hall and health fair for veterans
By Jonathan Ambarian - MTN News
Veterans has the chance to ask questions about their medical care during a town hall at Fort Harrison. (MTN News photo)
Several of the people in attendance asked questions about the future of the Veterans Choice Program. (MTN News photo)
FORT HARRISON -
Military veterans got an opportunity to ask questions about their medical care Wednesday evening during a town hall and health fair at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Fort Harrison.
VA staff was on hand to provide information on the services the agency provides – everything from help applying for benefits to suicide prevention and healthy lifestyle programs.
State and regional administrators also took questions from veterans concerned about how the federal budget and proposed legislation could affect the VA.
Several of the people in attendance asked questions about the future of the Veterans Choice Program, which allows some veterans to receive care from private providers instead of the VA.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed a law extending the program, which had been scheduled to expire
Ralph Gigliotti, director of the VA Rocky Mountain Network, said Congress is working on a long-term fix to make sure veterans are able to choose where they get care. He said he expects legislation to be proposed in the fall.
VA Montana leaders are encouraging veterans to get in contact with them, to find out about the full range of services they offer. They said over the last few years, they’ve made a number of changes to better meet veterans’ needs.
“We have a new administration now with a lot of great ideas, pulling in a lot of really good consultants, and things are changing rapidly,” said Desiree Blackburn, a social worker and caregiver support program coordinator. “So for a veteran that only comes to the VA and gets care every three years, the VA is going to be a very different, very progressive place for them to come and get their health care.”
VA Montana hosts town halls and health fairs around the state with the next one set for June 22 at the VA clinic in Billings.