VA stands by plan to close Hot Springs hospital amid community pushback: 5 things to know

A final environmental impact study calls for closing much of the Department of Veterans Affairs Black Hills Health Care System campus in Hot Springs, S.D., and building a new facility in Rapid City, S.D., according to a Rapid City Journal report.

Here are five things to know.

1. The VA's preferred replacement plan for the Black Hills VA System is estimated to cost $217 million and would include the following:

  • Constructing a multi-specialty outpatient clinic and 100-bed rehabilitation facility in Rapid City
  • Renovating space on the current Hot Springs campus for use as the community-based clinic
  • Discontinuing the use of the current VA campus in Hot Springs

2. Under the VA's recommended plan, approximately 290 full-time jobs would be cut from the Hot Springs workforce, according to the article. About 100 jobs would be created in Rapid City, according to the new plan.

3. The VA also included a number of alternatives to their preferred plan in response to the impact statement. The cheapest proposed alternative, at an estimated cost of $149 million, is similar to the VA's preferred plan, and would include constructing a multi-specialty outpatient clinic and 100-bed rehabilitation facility in Rapid City, building or leasing property for a community-based outpatient clinic in Hot Springs and discontinuing the use of the current VA campus in Hot Springs, according to the report.

4. The Black Hills VA system has stated restructuring will allow the VA to provide safe locations and facilities for care, comply with accessibility requirements, meet current care standards and will be fiscally beneficial to the system, the report notes. However, many in Hot Springs have been fighting the changes. The Hot Springs-based group Save the VA issued a statement last week saying, "The STVA does not believe this alternative best serves the needs of our veterans!" the statement read, according to the report.

5. Rapid City Journal reports that VA Secretary Robert McDonald will ultimately determine what happens with the reconfiguration of Black Hills after a 30-day waiting period is over, though he does not have to make the decision within a specific time frame.



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