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Source: Hot Springs and Sturgis could lose VA hospitals

Towns will retain clinics, most services move to Rapid City
A source says the Hot Springs VA Campus will be converted into a clinic, with most services...
A source says the Hot Springs VA Campus will be converted into a clinic, with most services moving to Rapid City.(KOTA)
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 3:56 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The future of veteran care in our area could change drastically soon.

A source tells us that both the Hot Springs and Sturgis Fort Meade VA campuses will close, with most services transferred to a new VA medical center in Rapid City. Both towns however, will have new multi-specialty clinics to serve area veterans. The Hot Springs domiciliary would be moved to Rapid City and the Fort Meade Community Living Center would also be relocated.

This is part of a more-encompassing plan to restructure Veterans Administration facilities across the country. That plan will include a list of recommendations, what facilities should be closed or modernized, and the acquisition of new facilities. The final list is expected to be released March 14.

The president will then appoint nine people to serve on an Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission, looking at the VA Secretary’s recommendations. This includes hearings and investigations before sending final recommendations to the White House by January 2023.

The president could reject the recommendations, asking the commission to submit a new list, or approve it. If approved, the list will be submitted to Congress which will then have 45 days to enact a joint resolution of disapproval. If Congress doesn’t act, the recommendations will be implemented. The actions would not go into effect until 2026.

The idea to close the Hot Springs campus has been around since 2017 when the VA decided to realign Veterans Affairs Black Hills Health Care services. But it seemed to be shelved in September 2020 when then-VA Secretary Robert Wilkie rescinded a plan to realign medical services.

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