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VA Montana Healthcare System Under Federal Review

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General has opened a formal review of the VA Montana Healthcare System.

Catherine Gromek of the inspector general’s office told The Billings Gazette she couldn’t discuss details.

The move comes within weeks of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana telling Capitol Hill his concerns about the inability to recruit in-patient psychiatrists to work at a mental health facility for veterans at Fort Harrison.

Michele Hammonds of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says there’s no shortage of psychiatrists in the national system, but recruitment has historically been difficult in Montana. The national vacancy rate for psychiatrists in the VA system is about 16 percent, but the region that includes Montana has a vacancy rate of roughly 30 percent.

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