The Montana VA is holding a townhall meeting for veterans this week. This, as the newly-installed Secretary of Veterans Affairs is launching a 100-day reform plan in the wake of a series of scandals that rocked the VA healthcare system.
The townhall meeting will take place on Wednesday in Helena. Full details are below. Hopefully the VA will hold more townhalls elsewhere across the state of Montana as well.
As for the secretary’s 100-day reform plan, here’s what The Military Times is reporting:
Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald said the recurring complaint he heard during a month-long listening tour across America is that his department’s culture is still too closed and unfriendly.
Monday’s event was the official launch of VA’s new “Road to Veterans Day” initiative, a push to reform and rebrand the department in McDonald’s first 100 days in office.
He has also promised to discipline workers found to be harming veterans, either through negligence or malice. The department has been in turmoil for months since reports showed evidence of record manipulation and lengthy medical care wait times for veterans at dozens of VA sites, and Congress recently passed new legislation to ease rules to quickly dismiss senior executives for mismanagement.
FULL PRESS RELEASE FROM MONTANA VA
Fort Harrison – Montana’s Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration offices are holding back-to-back town-hall meetings at the VA Montana Medical Center, Building 154 Rec Hall, Sept. 10th.
The town-hall meetings start at 4:30 pm and will feature VA Montana Health Care System followed at 5:30 pm by a separate meeting featuring representatives from the VBA. The town-halls end at 7:30 pm. “We are excited to have an opportunity to come together to share ideas and make VA Montana the premier health care system Veterans deserve,” said Johnny Ginnity, VA Montana Health Care System Acting Director.
In August, VA announced an initiative for each medical center and regional office to hold at least one Town Hall meeting with Veterans before the end of September. “Through these venues, I encourage each hospital and regional office to engage in open dialogue with Veterans, Members of Congress, Veterans Service Organizations, and local media,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald.
Senior staff from Montana’s VHA and VBA will be on hand to listen to Veterans and answer questions. “As we seek continual improvement and rebuild trust among Veterans, it is critical that we continue to learn from our local stakeholders,” McDonald said.
Locations and dates for future town-halls will be announced once details are finalized.
People who plan to attend are encouraged to arrive before 4:30 pm and may park where convenient in any lot. The Rec Hall is located on the southwest side of building 154. Signs point to the room. Welcome table attendants will ask attendees to register before entering the meeting room.
US Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Montana Healthcare System
3687 Veterans Drive
Fort Harrison, MT 59636-1500
Attention: Town Hall Questions
Questions will be answered by appropriate panels or in writing afterward.
Veterans who are unable to attend in person have a listen-only telephone conference call option beginning at 4:20. Call 800-767-1750 and, when prompted press 721827. Phone lines for this option are limited.
Media are encouraged to pool so that space in the room is maximized for attending Veterans. Media will be asked to respect patient privacy. Media should contact the VAMTHCS PAO at the telephone numbers in the header of this press release if they plan to attend or have more questions.