SD officials, others to make case Monday for Hot Springs VA facilityWASHINGTON, D.C. — South Dakota’s four top officials, along with a Nebraska senator, will present a united front next week on keeping a Veteran Administration hospital and other facilities fully open in Hot Springs.
By: News release, Office of Sen. Tim Johnson
WASHINGTON, D.C. — South Dakota’s four top officials, along with a Nebraska senator, will present a united front next week on keeping a Veteran Administration hospital and other facilities fully open in Hot Springs.
Sens. Tim Johnson, a Democrat, John Thune, a Republican, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., as well as representatives of the Save the VA Group will meet with Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki to discuss the future of VA facilities in Hot Springs.
Last fall, Eric Shinseki offered to have the South Dakota officials and their supporters meet with a VA undersecretary. That was rejected, and the South Dakota delegation said they wanted to meet with Eric Shinseki. The meeting will be an opportunity for the Save the VA Group to present their proposal for the Hot Springs VA directly to Secretary Shinseki and share with him their concerns with the VA’s current proposal.
The Veterans Administration has proposed to significantly downsize their presence in Hot Springs. That was first announced in late 2011. The facility treats veterans from South Dakota as well as parts of Nebraska and Wyoming. Opponents of the reduction in services claim it would force veterans to seek care in facilities far from the current location, and would also mean some would be treated by public health care facilities without the experience and expertise of working with veterans.
The South Dakota delegation opposes this proposal and will be seeking to have the secretary make changes to accommodate the concerns of the Save the VA Group. Representing the Save the VA Group will be Pat Russell, Bob Nelson, Rich Gross, Don Ackerman and Amanda Campbell. All are from Hot Springs. The meeting will take place on Monday afternoon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.