Seeing firsthand the negative impacts of doctor and nursing shortages during his Montana tour with VA Secretary Bob McDonald, Senator Jon Tester is seeking more resources for Montana nurses.

“Title VIII reinforces our healthcare delivery system’s ability to provide timely access to cost-effective care in all communities,” wrote Tester, a former teacher.  “This support is a direct investment in the nursing workforce, our nation’s well-being, and the sustainability of our healthcare system as a whole.”

Sen. Tester requested $244 million for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs for Fiscal Year 2016 to help train and educate nurses.

Last week, Tester showed Secretary McDonald firsthand the negative impacts of staffing shortages at VA Montana, including the temporary closing of the VA mental health unit at Ft. Harrison in Helena.

After hearing from rural Montanans, Tester underscored the need to get health professionals on the ground in communities that are having a hard time recruiting doctors and nurses.  According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, there will be a need for 1,300 new health care workers each year through the year 2020.