• Veterans Affairs Plans Closure of Large Portion of Hot Springs Facility, Relocate Most Care to Rapid City

    January 12, 2017

    The main administration building of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium provides the entrance to the Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival Style domiciliary.

    photo by: Jennifer Buddenborg

    Last week, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Bob McDonald issued a decision on the future of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium that would lead to the closure of a large portion of the Hot Springs facility, and relegating the complex to an outpatient-only care center.

    VA Black Hills Health Care Director Sandra Horsman commented that public feedback and advocacy efforts did alter the initial plans of the department, including revised plans to convert part of Battle Mountain Sanitarium into a call center and hosting outpatient and dialysis clinics in Building 12 of the complex.

    In response to the announcement, the following statement was issued by David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer of the National Trust:

    “This magnificent medical campus has provided high quality medical care to veterans for over a century. A recent release of VA hospital ratings showed the Hot Springs campus to be one of the top performing veterans medical centers in the country. Despite this, and widespread opposition by the veterans themselves to the VA’s proposal, the Secretary has decided to abandon dozens of well-maintained campus buildings that could continue to serve veterans’ medical needs—a move that also threatens the economic stability of this small, rural town because of the loss of jobs.

    “The National Trust for Historic Preservation finds the Secretary’s decision to be shortsighted. We have stood alongside veterans, members of Congress, and the American Legion to ensure an objective and thoughtful decision-making process that would put veterans first and preserve the historic buildings for the continued benefit of veterans. The fundamental goals that the VA says it wants to promote – such as “veteran-centric” services, organized around “veterans’ needs,” and medical care “closer to their homes” – are actually undermined rather than advanced by the VA’s decision.

    “The National Trust will continue to work with veterans, local partners, members of Congress and the incoming VA administration to push for a better outcome at Battle Mountain Sanitarium, one that preserves this special place that has served veterans for more than a century. The VA needs to craft a new solution that meets the needs and preferences of veterans who wish to continue receiving their health care at the extraordinary Battle Mountain Sanitarium. The National Trust stands ready to assist.”

    U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem also released a statement in opposition to the closure, vowing to continue to pursue "a solution that puts our veterans in the best possible position to receive the high-quality health care and support they deserve."

    Thank you for your interest and support in this National Treasure and stay tuned for updates on SavingPlaces.org.

  • Veterans Affairs Secretary McDonald to Visit Battle Mountain Sanitarium

    November 28, 2016

    Share your voice to ensure that the historic Battle Mountain Sanitarium in Hot Springs, South Dakota, remains open and serving our nation’s veterans for many years to come.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently released its final recommendation on the future of this National Historic Landmark. For more than 100 years, Battle Mountain Sanitarium has provided first-class medical care to veterans, serving as a beacon of hope for their recovery and an important contributor to the community and local economy. Today, the VA is just one step away from shuttering the vast majority of the medical center, removing critical patient care for our nation’s military veterans, leaving dozens of nationally significant buildings in peril, and a Main Street community without its largest employer.

    VA Secretary Bob McDonald will be visiting Battle Mountain Sanitarium on Wednesday, November 30, to help inform his final decision on the future of veteran medical care in Hot Springs.

    TOWN HALL MEETING
    Wednesday, November 30
    12:15 pm
    Mueller Civic Center
    801 South 6th Street, Hot Springs, SD 57747

    Join veterans and the National Trust in calling on the VA Secretary to expand the preferred alternative in the final Environmental Impact Statement for the reconfiguration of the Hot Springs VA Medical Center in Hot Springs, South Dakota. The current recommendation uses only three buildings on the historic campus, wasting dozens of significant, well-maintained buildings that are readily available for use in veteran care by leaving them vacant and with no determined future use. The preferred alternative should include a greater degree of building uses, such as a Center of Excellence for PTSD Treatment.

    Thank you in advance for speaking up for the wise stewardship of Battle Mountain Sanitarium. Veterans past and future thank you, too.

  • Comment Deadline Extended to May 5

    March 22, 2016

    The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the public comment deadline to May 5, 2016, for the draft Environmental Impact Statement that has been released as part of the reconfiguration of the VA Black Hills Health Care Network. Any and all interested parties are encouraged to submit their comments on this document, which details the agency’s preferred alternative to close the entire Battle Mountain Sanitarium National Historic Landmark campus and move Veterans medical services to Rapid City. Comments can be submitted online at www.blackhillseis.com, by email to vablackhillsfuture@va.gov, or by regular mail to Staff Assistant to the Director, VA BHHCS, 113 Comanche Road, Fort Meade, SD 57741.

    The National Trust continues to actively participate alongside partners in the federally required review and compliance process for the proposed reconfiguration. We remain dedicated to maintaining a robust VA presence at the Hot Springs campus and making sure this National Treasure is protected and preserved in honor of our Nation’s veterans.

  • Speak Out for Battle Mountain Sanitarium

    November 24, 2015

    The Department of Veterans Affairs recently released its much-delayed draft study on the reconfiguration of its Black Hills Health Care System in western South Dakota. The study, required by federal law, identified six possible options to be considered for the future of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium, but unfortunately, the agency has identified Alternative A as its preferred alternative. This option would discontinue services at Battle Mountain Sanitarium and move those services 60 miles north to Rapid City, the very proposal that was set forth in late 2011 before any public input was solicited.

    While you can voice your opposition to the closing of Battle Mountain on this website through February 5, 2016, we also encourage you to attend in-person hearings and voice your opposition on the issue in the following locations throughout the region over the next several days:

    RAPID CITY, SD: Monday, November 30, Doors open 5:00 p.m.
    Meeting 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Best Western Ramkota Hotel,Lincoln Room
    2111 N. LaCrosse Street, Rapid City, SD

    HOT SPRINGS, SD: Tuesday, December 1, Doors open 5:00 p.m.
    Meeting 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Red Rock River Resort
    603 N River St, Hot Springs, SD

    PINE RIDGE, SD: Wednesday, December 2, Doors open 1:00 p.m.
    Meeting 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
    Pine Ridge School (cafeteria)
    101 Thorpe Circle, Pine Ridge, SD

    CHADRON, NE: Wednesday, December 2, Doors open 6:00 p.m.
    Meeting 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Chadron State College, Ballroom in Student Center
    1000 Main St, Chadron, NE

    ALLIANCE, NE: Thursday, December 3, Doors open 12:30 p.m.
    Meeting 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
    Newberry’s
    502 Box Butte Ave., Alliance, NE

    SCOTTSBLUFF, NE: Thursday, December 3, Doors open 6:00 p.m.
    Meeting 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Gering Civic Center, Oregon Trail Room
    1050 M St, Gering, NE

    See more at: http://www.blackhills.va.gov/vablackhillsfuture

    Thank you for your support on this issue, as it is vitally important that our veterans continue to be treated at a place that has provided care to our nation’s heroes for more than a century – it’s what they want and deserve. Thank you!

  • VA Releases Draft Study Supporting Closure of Battle Mountain Sanitarium

    November 2, 2015

    As the month of October came to a close, the Department of Veterans Affairs publicly released its much-delayed draft study on the reconfiguration of its Black Hills Health Care System in western South Dakota. The study, required by federal law, identifies options to be considered for the future of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium, a National Historic Landmark.

    The V.A. identified six possible options, or alternatives, to meeting the purpose and need of the reconfiguration. Despite vehement opposition from veterans, locals, elected officials, and other stakeholders, the agency has identified Alternative A as its preferred alternative. This option would discontinue services at Battle Mountain Sanitarium and move those services 60 miles north to Rapid City, the very proposal that was set forth in late 2011 before any public input was solicited.

    It is hard to believe that the V.A. objectively undertook this study with no pre-determination, given the public and stakeholder input that supported very different alternatives—primarily that the V.A. maintain its presence as a medical facility at Battle Mountain Sanitarium.

    Voices can still be heard on this matter through the federal review process. You can visit this website and submit your comments by February 5, 2016, in support of maintaining the V.A. medical facility at the Battle Mountain Sanitarium campus. It’s what our veterans want and deserve; to be treated at a place that has provided care to our nation’s heroes for more than a century.

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