Town Hall Meetings Continue - VA Black Hills Health Care System
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VA Black Hills Health Care System


Town Hall Meetings Continue

DiStasio presents at town hall - photo by E. Savage

Stephen DiStasio, Acting Director at VA Black Hills, speaks to the standing room only crowd at the Hot Springs Town Hall Meeting.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

VA Black Hills Health Care System continues town hall meetings this week. The forums are being held to discuss proposals for the improvement of Veterans’ health care services in portions of western South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming.

These proposals are driven by the desire to maintain the delivery of high quality care and decrease travel for Veterans and their family members. The proposal includes building or leasing a new Hot Springs Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Hot Springs with a dialysis unit either co-located with the Fall River Hospital or the State Veterans Home, or alternatively at a free-standing site with the purchase of pharmacy, laboratory and x-ray services at the Fall River Hospital.

The proposal also includes a plan to phase out the Hot Springs, SD, inpatient and nursing home unit including the operating rooms and urgent care facilities. Access to these services will remain but would be purchased at local community hospitals. Hot Springs employees will not lose their job through a Reduction in Force. Employees will be offered other employment opportunities within VA.  Early retirements and separations with buy-out support will be pursued.

As part of the improvement, VA proposes projects in Rapid City, SD to significantly expand the VA Community Based Outreach Clinic there by adding x-ray, lab, pharmacy and physical therapy as well as building a new Domiciliary/Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program facility designed to accommodate more female Veterans and Veterans with children. Veterans will benefit from increased access to occupational training, state-of-the-art neighborhood-like facilities and access to job sites and other community services. 

The proposal includes building new operating rooms and support facilities at Ft. Meade, SD followed with the renovation of the inpatient medicine/surgery unit, relocation of the intensive care unit, and a new sterile supplies processing unit. VA will also explore opportunities for repurposed Hot Springs Campus buildings through public, private, and non-profit partnerships while maintaining the buildings in compliance with National Landmark Status.

VA Black Hills Health Care System will also plan to expand partnerships with community health care partners throughout western South Dakota, northwest Nebraska and eastern Wyoming and would begin purchasing inpatient and outpatient health care services to reduce distances Veterans must travel to receive care. 

Veterans, family members, community and business leaders, and the general public are invited to attend any or all public forums to ask questions and share ideas and concerns with us about this proposal.

Locations, date, and times of public forums:

Hot Springs, SD on Dec 12, 2011  6:00 PM   Mueller Center Theater                                 
 Rapid City, SD on Dec 13, 2011  7:00 PM     Ramkota Convention Center
Pine Ridge, SD on Dec 14, 2011  9:00 AM    Billy Mills Hall
Gordon, NE on Dec 14, 2011  12:30 PM        United Methodist Church
Scottsbluff, NE on Dec 14, 2011  6:00 PM     Gering Civic Center
Pierre, SD on Dec 16, 2011  10:00 AM (CT)  Ramkota Convention Center
Eagle Butte, SD on Dec 16, 2011  4:30 PM   Landmark Hall

Additional information, a Fact Sheet and more are also available at


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