“One-stop shop”: Butte VA Clinic organizes a grand opening | Montana News

Dozens of people – some wearing military uniforms and white gloves, others winter coats and winter gloves – braved the snowy and sub-freezing day of April 29 to celebrate the grand opening from the Butte Veteran Affairs Clinic.

The clinic’s location on Three Bears Drive near the Southwest Montana Veterans Home was chosen in May 2020 after providing services from a clinic in Anaconda since 1996, Montana VA Executive Director Judy Hayman said. during the event.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., left, joins other attendees in honoring the flag before reciting the Pledge of Allegiance Friday morning at the grand opening of the Butte VA Clinic, 5 Three Bears Drive in Butte .

“Over these 25 years, our clinic has proudly grown the number of veterans we serve and then ran a clinic, which was originally designed to house a primary care team,” said the relationship manager with stakeholders for VA Montana Christina Lundstrom.

The clinic is “veteran-centric,” Hayman said, and designed around the patient-aligned care team model, where a team made up of several different healthcare workers, such as a nurse practitioner, a therapist, social worker and more. The Anaconda Clinic has one primary care team, but the Butte Clinic, which is four times the size, can accommodate two. There are also plans to add a third.

Hayman spoke at the beginning and end of the ceremony, following the folding and raising of the flag and the opening prayer performed by Annishinaabe artist and Helena area healer Louise Ogemahgesig Fischer.

PACTs, Hayman explained, allow visits to be more private, require fewer transitions and less wait time. PACTs also work together, meaning teams can connect patients with needed providers “without the hurdle of having to schedule another follow-up appointment.”

“This new design optimizes a patient’s time, and is truly a one-stop shop,” Hayman said.

At the Anaconda Clinic, she said, they served more than 1,700 veterans. The Butte Clinic has the capacity to serve 2,100 local veterans from Butte-Silver Bow and surrounding counties.

Inauguration of the Butte VA clinic

The American flag is folded by veterans as the importance of the 13 folds is explained to attendees at the grand opening of the Butte VA Clinic, 5 Three Bears Drive in Butte.

“Being veteran-centric also means offering innovations for veteran convenience, such as robust patient Wi-Fi, improved soundproof rooms, and a convenient location with easy access and plenty of parking. as well as many advances in telehealth,” Hayman mentioned.

The clinic will provide outpatient mental health services, as well as telehealth, teleaudio and teleretinal services.

“It’s a dream,” Navy veteran Tom Muntzer said of the clinic. “It’s as good as or better than Fort Harrison,” he says.

Inauguration of the VA clinic in Butte

Ann Newton points out patches – each with a story to tell – on her partner Tom Muntzer’s jacket on Friday morning ahead of the VA Clinic’s grand opening ceremony in Butte.

Navy veteran Tom Goyette said he’s on the side of patients and on the side of health care because he spent 20 years as a registered nurse. “I can see it from both sides, and it’s a great setup.”

When Anaconda’s move to Butte was announced, some Anaconda veterans were disappointed to see the clinic move out of town.

Inauguration of the Butte VA clinic

Members of the local Color Guard take up position in front of the new medical clinic Friday morning during the grand opening of the Butte VA Clinic on Three Bears Drive in Butte.

Veterans who are having transportation difficulties getting to the clinic can call 406-447-6270 to connect to a Veterans Transportation Services ride or 406-691-0497 for a US Veterans ride disabled, Democratic Sen. John Tester’s office said in a statement in Montana. Standard. For more information on travel claim assistance, veterans can call 406-447-7409.

Tester spoke at the ceremony, as did representatives of Republican Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Matt Rosendale.

Inauguration of the Butte VA clinic

Louise Ogemahgeshig Fischer and Glenn Callaghan chat in the entrance to the new VA clinic Friday morning before the grand opening ceremony in Butte.

“It was a fact then and it’s a fact now,” Tester said. “This clinic wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the vets in southwestern Montana… You said, ‘Tester, damn it, go to work and get this thing funded. And we did.

“The community outpatient clinic will be a place where veterans in southwestern Montana receive the quality medical care they deserve,” Sen. Steve Daines Rep. Mike Waters said at the event from a statement prepared by Daines. “Montana needs more facilities like this to better serve the needs of every veteran in all parts of the Treasure State.”

Inauguration of the Butte VA clinic

The exam rooms at the new Butte VA Clinic offer a streamlined approach to patient care allowing providers to come to the patient with services ranging from physicians to psychologists and pharmacists located within the building.

“As we all know, nearly one in 10 Montana residents is a veteran,” Kelly Cotton, a representative for Matt Rosendale, said in a statement prepared by Rosendale. “Therefore, we need to invest in projects that continue to meet their needs.”

Tester is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, which oversees the Department of Veterans Affairs. Rosendale also sits on the committee. Over the past few months, new VA clinics have opened in Bozeman and Missoula.

Butte-Silver Bow general manager JP Gallagher, who is a veteran and uses the clinic’s services, also spoke at the ceremony.

Inauguration of the Butte VA clinic

Colorful signs separate the area where patients check in from the lounge area of ​​the new Butte VA Clinic on Three Bears Drive in Butte.

Local veteran Mike Lawson was chosen to cut the big red ribbon at the ceremony with a pair of big red scissors.

Lundstrom said that morning when the VA asked the clinic staff who should cut the ribbon, they mentioned this person who showed up at the clinic almost daily to check on things and communicate the status of the clinic. to the community through its column. in Butte Weekly. That person was Lawson.

“I was honoured,” Lawson said of the privilege after the ceremony.

Laura J. Boyer