New Veteran’s Mental Health Facility Sits Nearly Empty
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Nine months after a 24-bed mental health facility for veterans opened at
Fort Harrison west of Helena, the $7 million building has been sitting two-thirds empty.
The Billings Gazette reports the inpatient facility dedicated in June has eight beds for veterans dealing with
less-severe cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The eight-bed wing for veterans dealing with substance abuse was scheduled to open
this week, but the VA Montana Health Care System has been unable to
recruit the three psychiatrists needed to open the acute psychiatric wing.
Some former employees say staff morale is bad, contributing to the system’s inability to find the needed psychiatrists.
System director Robin Korogi argues relatively low pay, a shortage of
psychiatrists and the requirement that they be “on call” are making it
difficult to staff the wing.