NBC Montana: Tester bill would hold VA staff, supervisors accountable

MISSOULA, Mont. – We’ve been reporting for over a year about the state of veterans’ health care in Montana. Now a new bill in the U.S. Senate may bring more help for veterans.

The bipartisan measure, presented by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), is called the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.

In April President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan bill that extended the Veterans Choice program and promised to fix a bureaucratic snarl blamed for the VA’s inability to serve the men and women it was created to help.

The Veterans Choice Improvement Act was supposed to clear away roadblocks that left veterans waiting for care and caregivers waiting for compensation. The Choice Improvement Act sailed through both houses of Congress with near unanimous support.

Tester helped write the bill and held it up as a testament to what is possible when politicians set politics aside. With the ink still wet from Trump’s signature, Tester told NBC Montana there was still work to be done. Responding to a question about the viability of the Veterans Administration Tester said the VA was worth saving.