Montana Veteran Denied Service at VA for No Mask. Congressman Not Happy.
Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale is not happy about an incident last week at the VA Center in Billings. A veteran who served in Iraq was denied medical care because he refused to wear a mask which is required by the VA.
At a house hearing last week on Capitol Hill Rosendale asked United States Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Health, Dr. Shereef Elnahal if he supported the mask requirements. The doctor said they are required to follow CDC guidelines and those guidelines still require masks. Read his Letter to the VA below.
GF Best Kept Secret?
Below is the letter that Rosendale sent to the VA.
February 23, 2023
Dr. Judy Hayman Executive Director Montana VA Healthcare System
Fort Harrison VAMC 3687 Veterans Drive Fort Harrison, MT 59636
Dear Dr. Hayman,
It has come to my attention that a veteran was denied care at a Montana VA Clinic for refusing to wear a mask. Denying anyone, particularly a veteran, medical care over a personal decision is outrageous and violates the Hippocratic Oath. The pandemic is over, and it is time to end all mandates. The specific incident that was brought to my attention occurred last week at the Benjamin Charles Steele VA Clinic. Travis Norby, an Army veteran, was turned away from his appointment over his unwillingness to wear a face mask.1 Mr. Norby served our country in Iraq by commanding a mechanized infantry company and now works as a firefighter. 2 It is wrong that people like Mr. Norby honorably serve our country overseas and then are denied proper medical treatment at home due to an outdated and senseless mandate. The mask mandate remains in place despite it being evident that masks do not stop the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, masks prevent proper breathing and make social interactions more difficult. As you know, in September 2022, President Biden said that the COVID-19 pandemic is over in the United States.3 Additionally, the Biden Administration announced that the public health and national emergencies would terminate on May 11, 2023. While the date is arbitrary, even the President recognizes he can no longer hold the public hostage with executive powers. When do you expect the mask mandate to end within the Montana VA Healthcare System? Do you plan on urging the Veterans Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control to end the mask mandate? I commend Travis Norby for speaking out and bringing attention to the injustice within the Montana VA Healthcare System. However, I am concerned other veterans had similar experiences and are afraid to speak out due to fear of retribution. How many veterans have the Montana VA denied treatment to over their decision to not wear a face mask? Do you know of any specific situations where a veteran’s health was adversely affected due to the Montana VA Healthcare System’s unwillingness to provide treatment?