Noem Effort to Bar VA from Ending Services at Facilities Like the Hot Springs VA Hospital Passes House

Noem Effort to Bar VA from Ending Services at Facilities Like the Hot Springs VA Hospital Passes House

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives tonight passed legislation that included a provision authored by Rep. Kristi Noem that would prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from ending or limiting hospital-based services at facilities like the Hot Springs VA Hospital.

Specifically, the amendment would bar the VA from ending, suspending, or relocating hospital-based services at a health care facility that is undergoing an Environmental Impact Statement, is designated as a National Historic Landmark, and is located in a highly rural area. The Hot Springs VA facility meets all of those criteria.

“There is a reason Hot Springs is called ‘The Veterans Town’ and I’m not going to stop fighting on their behalf,” said Noem. “The VA Hospital in Hot Springs has long provided critical care to South Dakota veterans. My amendment which was approved in the VA appropriations bill is pretty simple: it would prohibit the VA from spending money to shut down or limit services for rural veterans, including those who are treated in Hot Springs.”
Noem’s amendment was approved as part of the FY 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, which passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 255-163.
Noem has been fighting for years to save the Hot Springs VA hospital from closure. Last summer she brought House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller to Hot Springs to hold a field hearing which helped highlight discrepancies in data that has been used by the VA as they have worked on their proposal to close the hospital. Earlier this year, Noem joined Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds in urging the VA secretary to remove plans to close the Hot Springs hospital from President Obama’s budget request.

14 thoughts on “Noem Effort to Bar VA from Ending Services at Facilities Like the Hot Springs VA Hospital Passes House”

    1. Define “mandatory funding”. For one thing the VA is the only department whose funding is a year in advance. And this amendment Noem got passed was on the VA funding bill.

  1. Clearly Ms. Noem has no clue on what we in economics call a comparative advantage. It is, by contrast, far more expensive to have a place like Hot Springs than to do the same thing in Rapid City. Well played, well played! Thinking like a, well, thinking like a……well, not upholding the Reagan legacy.

    1. What about the fact that there is already a location in Hot Springs, as opposed to building a new one in Rapid City? Plus the thousands of veterans on the reservation, in northwest Nebraska (where they already closed a VA), and in Wyoming. Those veterans will have to travel further to get to Rapid City and the VA has to pay for their travel. Doesn’t sound very cost effective to me.

  2. “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” – Ronald Reagan

    Noel wants to cut but not if it’s going to be in SD.

    This is exactly why Reagan said those words. I’m not saying the VA should shut down the VA in Hot Springs. It shouldn’t but we do not allow for the world to change in politics. Just because Hot Springs was the best spot for a VA hospital decades ago does not mean it is the most economical location today. Maybe Sioux Falls, Rapid City or another town would be more ideal with our changing population.

    A much more sensible idea would be for Noem to advocate for John McCain’s idea from a few years ago where we give a veteran a VA credit card and they can use that card in their hometowns to see a Dr. nearby rather than have to drive across the state.

    A VA might be where we an individual is at any given time rather than a single location in SD.

    The times they are a changing…

    1. The problem with that plan is there would be no need for VA hospitals. What would we do with all of those buildings?

      1. I’m sure we could turn a VA hospital building into an office building for the IRS?

    2. Not a smart move by Noem and this locks us in when a better service and more efficient option might be available for our vets outside of Hot Springs. Just another pork project by a supposed conservative.

  3. For those of you who want the Hot Springs VA Hospital closed: Have you ever been through the facility?

    1. Here is the issue. I’m sure it is a fantastic place but is it in the best location to serve South Dakota Vets or is it off in the middle of nowhere in South West SD? This is like closing a school. It’s not popular and it is what defines a community. But is it the best use of federal dollars in 2015? I don’t know that answer.

      About a decade ago when Elseworth was on the chopping block a family member of mine who had spent a career in the Air Force thought it was ludicrous that Thune and Daschle were fighting over keeping the base open. He said it had long past served its purpose and these politicians have no idea what is needed with bases or not. These bases are not supposed to be political pawns for candidates to fight for. However he did say that if they could redefine what Elseworth’s role was then it would be ok to keep it open. In fact he mentioned it would be great for drones. Thune did redefine what Elseworth is. So it is now worth having. Politicians playing political games is a big problem in base closures and realignment.

      But politics and emotions come into play and keep agencies from being able to make real decisions that might better the nation because a Senator or Congress person do not want to let the world change like it naturally wants to.

      1. That VA hospital serves veterans from SD, NE, and WY.

        I have no doubt the hospital will close. It is being shut down by “death by a thousand cuts”. It won’t be long before the hospital at Ft. Meade near Sturgis will close as well.

        You are right about the emotionalism of shutting down a large entity in any town, especially a small town.

  4. Mandaatory funding is for all vets not some because of their income J ohn Mccains va card would ebventually lead to privitization of the v a health care.So when a vet come home from war an dneeds to go to va who will do get him.

  5. The establishment of rehabilitation facilities near natural spas is an ancient custom.
    The mineralized water was considered to be therapeutic, anti-microbial and, when loaded with lithium, anti-depressant. People knew that if they ” took the waters” they felt better. If they soaked and exercised in it, they loosened up arthritic joints and relieved muscle spasms. Everybody felt better after a week or so in them.
    If the best thing about a trip to the Hot Springs VA is the water supply, moving the services to Rapid City won’t make anybody feel better.

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