VA Secretary Takes Notes, Creates Rural Advisory Committee
<div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u2/NationalguardNorthDakota_1.jpg" height="79" hspace="4" vspace="4" width="125" /></div>During last night's Democratic debate, Sen. Barack Obama talked about the absurdly long, 250 mile drive from the Texas Rio Grande Valley to the nearest Veterans Administration hospital. It was the only mention of a rural issue the entire night. (Sen. Clinton has also supported a Veterans hospital for the Valley.)<br /><br />Earlier in the week, VA Secretary Dr. James B. Peake was visiting Helena, Montana, and heard that rural vets have a hard time finding care. "Our biggest concern is the ability to obtain services for veterans in rural Montana,"' said Brig. Gen. Stan Putnam, assistant adjutant general of the Montana National Guard, <a href="http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080221/NEWS01/802210302/1002" target="_blank">according to the Great Falls Tribune</a>. <br /><br />Peak heard that Montana has no VA mental health facilities. The VA is currently taking Montana vets to Wyoming for treatment. According to the paper, "Peake took copious notes, but made no promises." Peake did, however, create a rural health advisory committee.