Montana Vet Centers
Billings Vet Center
1234 Ave. C
Billings, MT 59102
Phone: (406) 657-6071
Fax: (406) 657-6603
Missoula Vet Center
500 N. Higgins Avenue
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 721-4918
Fax: (406) 329-3006
Voice of MT
P.O. Box 933,
200-1/2 S. Hubbard St.
Plains, MT 59859
Where to find facilities:
VA Montana has primary care clinics in Anaconda, Billings, Bozeman, Miles City, Glendive, Glasgow, Great Falls, Missoula, Kalispell and Cut Bank, which opened Jan. 7 and a new facility will soon be opening in Havre.
These toll-free hotlines offer immediate help:
• VA National Suicide Prevention Hotline
• National Guard Military One Source
• National VA Nurse Line (for health information)
866-369-8020. This number is answered 24/7.
To enroll in VA health care, call 406-447-7325 or toll-free 877-468-837 during week days to reach Fort Harrison in Helena. After hours, call 406-442-6410 and ask for the medical duty officer.
Military to streamline vets' care
By MARTIN J. KIDSTON
HELENA - A partnership between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs could help expedite medical claims filed by Montana veterans while streamlining a process criticized by some as being slow and outdated.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama, along with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, announced that the two agencies have taken the first step in creating a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic record system.
The system would contain both administrative and medical information. The records would start the day an individual entered military service and would follow the individual throughout his or her career and later into life.
The issue has topped Sen. Jon Tester's "must do" list for the past two years. Tester, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, took up the issue after holding field hearings across the state with Montana veterans.
"It's something we've been concerned about for a while, and something we've been pushing," Tester said. "It will help immensely with the backlog of claims. That's huge, and it's a big concern of mine, and it's a big concern with the people in the VA."
After taking testimony from Montana vets, Tester began urging that access to electronic records was essential to delivering modern health care to veterans, as well as creating a paperless way of handling benefits.
Tester also said the creation of the Joint Virtual Lifetime Record would help create seamless care and serve as a model for the nation's hospitals.
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