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.