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VA Montana Health Care System

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Low Vision Clinic and Services for Blind Veterans

Low Vision Clinic

We work with non-VA Low Vision eye doctors for comprehensive eye examinations - no longer provided at Fort Harrison.  VA has long been recognized as a leader in blind rehabilitation both in the United States and abroad. The Fort Harrison VA Medical Center and VA Medical Centers in Denver and Salt Lake City were selected to provide expanded services to visually impaired Veterans. The Fort Harrison VA Low Vision Clinic has been seeing Veterans, who are not only legally blind, but also those with low vision or functional vision loss. We care for Veterans who have a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with ordinary glasses, contact lenses or surgery. Most often, these people report having a disease process called macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy. Typically, patients come to our clinic reporting that they have difficulty performing a visual task such as reading the newspaper, identifying medications, or viewing television.

What services are provided in the clinic?

• Comprehensive eye examination
• Magnifier or assistive technology prescription and training
• Education about other VA, state, and local resources
• Support and adjustment counseling

Who do the patients see when they come to the clinic? Our staff includes a low vision teacher, a social worker and a program assistant.

What does the service cost? This service is free to eligible Veterans.

Who can come to the clinic? Veterans eligible for care at VA Montana Health Care System.

How do you get an appointment? If veterans are already participating in VA care, they can request their primary care provider or their VA eye doctor consult the Low Vision Clinic. If they are not receiving VA care, they can contact the VA Eligibility office at (406) 447-7350/7460/7409 or 1-877-468-8387. An Application for Health Care Benefits can also be obtained from the Montana VA Health Care System website eligibility section at http://www.montana.va.gov/patients/.

For more information on the VA Low Vision Clinics please go to http://www.va.gov/blindrehab.

Blind Veterans

The VIST Coordinator is a case manager who has major responsibility for the coordination of all services for legally blind Veterans and their families. Duties include providing and/or arranging for the provision of appropriate treatment modalities, i.e. referrals to VA Blind Rehabilitation Centers and/or other services in order to enhance a blinded Veteran's functioning level.  Other duties include identifying new cases of blindness, providing professional counseling, resolving problems, arranging annual health care reviews and conducting education programs related to blindness.

For more information on eligibility and benefits for Blind Veterans, please contact Tracey Tillinger, LCSW, VIST Coordinator at 406-447-7625.  You may also contact Brittany McKinsey, CVLT, VIST Coordinator at (406) 373-3612 in Billings CBOC.

Contact Info

Location

  • VA Montana Health Care System

Contact Number(s)

  • 406-447-7565

Hours of Operation

  • Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm