KALISPELL — More than 5,000 veterans in Flathead County receive health care services from the Montana Veterans Affairs clinic in Kalispell.
But as the population grows in Flathead County, the number of veterans needing services continues to rise. A new state-of-the-art VA clinic coming to Kalispell will help meet growing demand.
“So, we exceeded the space constraints of our current location as well as the parking constraints because we are seeing more veterans,” said Montana VA Health Care System Executive Director Dr. Judy Hayman.
Dr. Hayman said the current clinic off Three Mile Drive in Kalispell is running out of space to provide proper care.
“It’s also an older building so it’s not technologically state-of-the-art so we have an opportunity to add a lot of infrastructure to better serve veterans.”
The future building off Old Reserve Drive will double the size of the existing building and will add a number of different programs and clinical care opportunities, from physical therapy to chiropractic care, a dedicated women’s health exam room, and much more.
“A model designed around the veteran, where rather than the veteran going to one exam room to see the nurse for vitals for example, and then moving to another room to see the provider, the veteran remains in the one room and our staff come to the veteran,” said Dr. Hayman.
The new clinic was approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs and spearheaded by Senate Veteran's Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), who says the new clinic in Kalispell is long overdue.
“It’s important because we just got out of a war for 20 years, it’s important because we have a lot of veterans living up in northwest Montana, and it’s important because when it comes to recruiting medical professionals and administrative personnel, they got to have a good work environment or they’re simply not going to come work at the VA, and we need more people, not less people working at the VA,” said Sen. Tester.
Dr. Hayman said the future clinic is still in the design phase with the hope of breaking ground on construction later this summer, “For projects this size we allocate up to two years, we’re hoping to be seeing veterans there by the fall of 2025.”