Many Missoula veterans are concerned about plans to move the Veterans Administration Health Clinic into a new building.

Chris Poloynis is a local Vietnam Veteran who has volunteered for nine years in the VA’s Vet-to-Vet PTSD service program. The current VA building is at capacity, but Poloynis says the building the federal government wants to use has severe access problems.

"Where they are proposing to move it, would be one block east of Higgins on East Pine, the old forestry building, which is next to the Post Office and the Federal Courthouse and which has literally no parking," Poloynis said. "A lot of the vets, lets say, that are from the Korean War, are in their 70s and 80s, they are in wheel chairs, and walkers... they can't walk that far."

Poloynis says issues like access have dropped the Montana VA healthcare rating from being the best in the country, to one of the lowest ranked systems.

"They have dropped down to 126 out of 128, because of the issues of not having enough professionals, not having office spaces, not having the ability to conduct all of the things that are necessary for the situation the veterans are faced with," Poloynis said.

There are empty office spaces near the current VA Clinic location on Palmer Street, but the decision makers in Washington D.C. want to use the forestry building because it is federally owned. Poloynis points out that one of the reasons the Forest Service vacated that building because rent was too high.


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