Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie says he will rescind his predecessor’s 2017 decision to close the Hot Springs VA Medical Center as part of a restructuring plan with an outpatient clinic in Hot Springs and a residential treatment center in Rapid City
Wilkie visited Hot Springs in March and said he intended to keep the VA Center open, then confirmed his intent Thursday in a letter to South Dakota U-S Senator Mike Rounds.
Senator Rounds told reporters on conference call that the now firm decision to keep Hot Springs open is a “huge win” for the Hot Springs community and for rural veterans throughout western South Dakota” as well as Nebraska and Wyoming.
Rounds said “The Hot Springs VA facility provides truly top notch care to rural veterans across the region, and we expect it to continue to do so.”
Rounds supports both keeping Hot Springs open and building a treatment facility in Rapid City and remains optimistic of getting both.
He said the next steps are to make sure the VA takes all needed actions to keep Hot Springs running and has the money to do so. He indicated there’s bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate Appropriations for full VA funding..