WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today at a joint Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing discussed the proposed reconfiguration of the Black Hills Health Care System with American Legion leadership. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently holding a public comment period on the environmental impact statement regarding the reconfiguration which will cut health care services at the VA hospital at Hot Springs.
During the exchange, American Legion officials expressed frustration with the VA for failing to be forthcoming with the agency’s plans for the facility and put the best interest of area veterans first. “We’ve had so many promises in this area of Hot Springs; it’s time we get the truth,” said American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett during the exchange.
“Hot Springs is a community that was built and based upon service to the veterans,” said Rounds. “It was one of the earliest hospitals ever created in the United States to take care of veterans. It was put there for a reason. Individuals in Hot Springs have been there for generations serving veterans. To them, they’re losing their identity, they’re losing their opportunity to share…I hope that Hot Springs will be able to continue providing the care they have in the past, in an even more enhanced capacity.”