American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt is calling on Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin to reverse the department’s decision made under the previous secretary to end needed services at the VA Medical Center in Hot Springs, S.D.
“The historic Black Hills VA Health Care System has saved countless lives over the years as veterans from rural areas of South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska have relied on this hospital for in-patient care,” Schmidt said. “Veterans who live far from metropolitan areas are already at a significant disadvantage when accessing their benefits. Relocating services to far-off facilities just compounds the problem. Dr. Shulkin is a physician who understands the importance of timely treatment and patient care. We are asking him to take quick action so VA can continue to serve these veterans who have sacrificed for their nation.”
While Hot Springs will continue to offer outpatient services, many veterans will have to travel to Rapid City in order to receive the medical care that they need. Delegates to the 2016 American Legion national convention unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming the organization’s support to keeping the facility and residential rehabilitation services in Hot Springs. The American Legion also called for the creation of a Center for Excellence to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse and homeless prevention at Hot Springs.