The VA Medical Center & Domiciliary in Hot Springs, South Dakota has served veterans for over 105 years, making it one of the longest active veteran hospitals in the nation. The Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed a closure of this facility after a decade of slowly eliminating services offered.
The closure of this VA would affect thousands of veterans regionally & nationally, as Hot Springs' Domiciliary, located in the quiet, peaceful Black Hills of South Dakota, is one of the most effective & safe treatment facilities for PTSD, alcohol and substance abuse. With more soldiers returning home from Iraq & Afghanistan with high rates of PTSD, as well as a focus nationally on ending veteran homelessness, which unfortunately often coincides with the former, it makes no sense to close a facility that is capable and willing to expand care & treatment, opening the doors for veterans from all across America.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has not supplied sufficient justification for their proposal; their rebuttals to inquiries by South Dakota's Congressional Delegation admitted that the information necessary to meaningfully make such an impactful decision was either not available or does not exist. Its financial analysis of its proposal was conducted under dubious circumstances wherein the firm completing the analysis never set foot on the VA's grounds to make an objective analysis, but instead worked strictly from figures provided by the VA, and the VA has not publicly released the full and complete financial analysis but instead a misleading summary of the fuller analysis. This is not acceptable in a government agency that has been paid for in blood by the men and women it is sworn to protect and serve.
Hot Springs is also the home of the South Dakota State Veterans Home and is known as "The Veterans Town," meaning that veterans are respected, honored, and cared for here more passionately and thoroughly than in any large urban area, which often has many more temptations and possibilities for relapse. Hot Springs's VA has been recognized for its significance as a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior and as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Veterans fought for our rights & our freedom; those who are disabled mentally or physically due to their service have paid a premium for the highest quality healthcare that our country can provide them - not contracting their care to city & county hospitals where they are treated as second-class patients.
We, the undersigned, are officially petitioning the Department of Veterans Affairs to not only to retract their proposal to close the VA Medical Center in Hot Springs, South Dakota, but to also expand services provided to the level they were provided at its peak so that it will be ready for War on Terror Veterans returning home.