SD Congressional delegation reacts to VA's hospital decision - KOTA Territory News

SD Congressional delegation reacts to VA's hospital decision


It's not looking like the more than two years of trying to persuade the Department of Veterans Affairs to keep the historic hospital in Hot Springs open will pay off.
Monday, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told South Dakota's congressional delegation that the VA is moving forward with an environmental impact study on closing the century-old historic Hot Springs facility - and rebuilding in Rapid City.

The VA says an economic analysis shows that restructuring its facilities in western South Dakota would be cheaper and more efficient than trying to fix the aging buildings in Hot Springs.

South Dakota's representatives question that, and say it ignores the pleas of veterans who want a facility in Hot Springs.

Since the fight to save the VA began, South Dakota's congressional delegation has pushed the VA to support the people of Hot Springs, and the veterans who want the hospital to stay open.
U.S. Representative Kristi Noem, and U.S. Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune say they're disappointed with the Department's decision.

Senator Thune says perhaps the biggest let-down is the lack of communication leading up to this decision. "There has been periods of months where they've gone radio silent and we have not heard a word from them," Senator Thune said.

Veterans and Hot Springs residents are encouraged to fully engage in the environmental impact study process, which allows for public comment.

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