Thune tours new Rapid City VA clinic
About two-and-a-half years after the groundbreaking, South Dakota US Senator John Thune is getting a tour of the new VA clinic in Rapid City.
The fourth-term Republican said he’s impressed with the facility.
Thune said the wide range of treatment options, from primary care to mental healthcare, is remarkable.
“To me, it’s just the full range of services that are available here,” Thune said. “The professionalism, the technology, the state-of-the-art type treatment and services that they offer and provide is probably a thing that jumps out the most. It’s just a beautiful facility and one we ought to be grateful for.”
Officials with the Black Hills VA Healthcare System say they serve about 8,600 veterans from Pennington County, alone.
The new Rapid City clinic officially opened in August. It’s three times the size of the previous clinic.
Last year, a bipartisan group of US Senators nixed a plan to streamline VA health care facilities. Part of that plan would have turned the Fort Meade and Hot Springs hospitals into clinics, and the Rapid City facility into a hospital.
Thune said his office has fought many battles over the Black Hills VA Healthcare system in the last decade. He said he supports keeping VA facilities in Hot Springs and Fort Meade open.
“We will continue to fight when necessary to make sure the VA is operating in a way that is consistent with what the needs are for veterans here in this region. But, we feel fortunate and blessed to have this facility coupled with the other ones in the area—who, in many ways, serve different populations in some ways, different needs that the veterans have.”
Thune said each facility contributes to the regionwide health care system.