Veterans Affairs Black Hills Health Care System
In 1889 the state of South Dakota establishes the State Soldiers Home in Hot Springs. Since then the Soldiers Home has had several name changes as well as building several additions within Hot Springs. In December of 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs proposed closing the Hot Springs location and relocating to Rapid City. The proposed relocation created a public outcry and led to the creation of Save Hot Springs.
Now in 2013, due to buildings being described as "cannot meet program requirements without extensive and cost-prohibitive renovations",2 the Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed again that the VA Hospital in Hot Springs move to Rapid City. Recently the Department of Veterans Affairs published the 2014 budget, including the Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program and Multi-Specialty Outpatient Clinic Lease for Rapid City. The Department of Veterans Affairs describes the budget proposal as:
According to the Rapid City Journal, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki assured U.S. Senator Tim Johnson and Save Hot Springs supporters that the proposed relocation was an error and no final decision has been made. The Department of Veterans Affairs met with Save Hot Springs on May 6, 2013 and a special South Dakota Legislative session that was scheduled for June 22 has been canceled, due to the Department of Veteran Affairs extending the federal grant for the Hot Springs location.
Established in 1878 as a military post, Fort Meade remained as so until 1944 when it was handed over to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Although Hot Springs is being looked at for downsizing, the VA hospital at Fort Meade is not relocating. The Sturgis-Meade County Tribune's recent article gives reasons why both Fort Meade and Sturgis benefit from having the hospital in Fort Meade.
Further Information and Veterans Resources
2017 Budget Fast Facts: From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in (PDF format).
Disabled American Veterans- We are a strong and influential advocate for veterans and fight to ensure they receive the full range of services and protections they deserve. We accomplish this by providing free professional assistance to all veterans and their families in obtaining benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and advocating for their rights on Capitol Hill,and we do it all for free, without any government funding.
- Disabled American Veterans- 101 E Madison St, Rapid City, SD 57701, (605) 348-5898.
Ellsworth Air Force Base, Airman & Family Readiness Center- The Airman & Family Readiness Center mission is to be the Total Force Resource — targeting the needs of the Ellsworth Community. Building a resilient community that supports each other and the Air Force mission. Facebook page
Military Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Information by Branch- Includes all branches (plus guard and reserve). Additional links included for additional information about VA and other organizations’ suicide prevention resources and other Veterans' issues.
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans- Provides assistance to homeless Veterans and their families; VA Medical Centers; Federal, state, and local partners; community agencies; Veterans services providers; and others in the community. If you or someone you know is a homeless Veteran in need of help, call 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838) to receive free, confidential support from a trained, VA staff member 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also get confidential support from the Homeless Veterans Chat.
Save Hot Springs: Website created by concerned citizens of Hot Springs, South Dakota to inform the general public on the issue of closing, or moving the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Hot Springs. Facebook page.
VA 2014 Proposal: From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (including budget highlights and past years proposals).
- Fort Meade Campus- 113 Comanche Rd., Fort Meade, SD 57741, (605) 347-2511 or (800) 743-1070.
- Hot Springs Campus- 500 North 5th St., Hot Springs, SD 57747, (605) 745-2000 or (800) 764-5370.
Veteran's Benefits Explained by Military.com: Military.com's free membership connects service members, military families and veterans to all the benefits of service — government benefits, scholarships, discounts, lifelong friends, mentors, great stories of military life or missions, and much more.
Veterans Crisis Line- The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.
Veterans of Foreign Wars- Ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars- 420 Main St., Rapid City, SD 57701, (605) 342-9804.
1 VA Black Hills Health Care System- About page.
2 United States Department of Veteran Affairs FY 2014 Budget- page 6-95.
More local information about Veterans Affairs.