- Associated Press - Thursday, January 15, 2015

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to expand the size of its clinic in Missoula to make it easier for veterans to get care in the Bitterroot Valley, officials said.

Officials with the VA Montana Health Care System held a town hall in Missoula on Wednesday evening to answer veterans’ questions and hear concerns about VA policies. It was part of the agency’s outreach efforts following last year’s scandal about lengthy wait time for care at VA facilities.

Acting system director Johnny Ginnity told veterans that it plans to expand its current Missoula clinic in four to six months. The VA also is looking at the possibility of using the old federal building in downtown Missoula as a new clinic, but Ginnity says that could be 18 months down the road.

VA spokesman Randy Martin says the agency has chosen a permanent director for the Montana health care system, but the hiring needs to be approved by the federal government before it can be announced.

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