Posted 10 months ago
By John Axtell
The Save the VA delegation from Hot Springs that met Monday in Washington with Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is holding a town meeting in Hot Springs next Tuesday evening to share highlights of that trip.
Tuesday’s 6:30 meeting at the Mueller Civic Center Theater will include the same presentation the group gave to Shinseki outlining Save the VA’s counter-proposal to the plan endorsed by the VA Black Hills Health Care System to close the Hot Springs VA Medical Center.
The delegation that went to Washington, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard…who also made the trip…and the state’s congressional delegation who set up and attended the Monday meeting all said they came away from it encouraged about the chances of killing the closure plan.
Shinseki told them he hadn’t made a decision yet, would like to make one “sooner than later,” promised “due deliberation” in his considerations, and indicated he would probably be talking or meeting with backers of the Hot Springs center before making a final decision.
The VA plan would close the Hot Spring Center and replace it with an outpatient clinic and dialysis center, a new long-term treatment program in Rapid City, and expanded contracting with health care providers around the region…saying it would be cheaper and more efficient that upgrading the existing center.
The Save the VA proposal would keep the center open through a combination of cost-cutting moves, innovative Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment programs, job-training, and a national demonstration project for a commercial manufacturing venture using VA patients and others.