Sen. Rounds: VA intends to keep Hot Springs facility open
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie has declared in writing that he intends to rescind a 2017 decision that would have closed the full-service health care facility and soldiers’ home in Hot Springs and established a community-based outpatient clinic in its place.
South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds told reporters on Thursday that his office received a letter from Secy. Wilkie Thursday morning confirming that intent, fulfilling a promise the Secretary made during a visit to the facility in March 2020.
Sen. Rounds called the change in decision a “huge win” for the community of Hot Springs and for rural veterans throughout western South Dakota.
He said next steps include making sure the VA takes the actions necessary to keep the facility operating, and to make sure the Department has the funds necessary to do so. He said that there is strong support in both parties in the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to ensure the nation’s veterans are taken care of.
During the same call with reporters, Sen. Rounds said he was disappointed that Democrats prevented debate on a Republican bill to provide a new round of COVID-19 financial relief. He said believes the Democrats misread the American public and may end up back at the negotiating table when they realize that.
He also updated reporters on his wife Jean’s cancer, saying she is home and recuperating from the latest treatment. He said her recent setback is nothing other families dealing with cancer haven’t experienced, and that they will see what the next check-up in 90 days brings.