VNRC Proposes plan to help keep Hot Springs VA open

KBHB, August 12, HOT SPRINGS, S.D. – The Veteran’s National Recovery Center is proposing to build several specialty centers at the Hot Springs VA – a proposal they’re calling a ‘medical miracle,’ because they hope it may keep the historic hospital from closing.

Veterans’ National Recovery Center president Bob Krause says it’s an optimistic new proposal, aimed at saving the Hot Springs VA from closure. For the past two years, Krause says the organization has been drafting a plan to create a medical research institute and college on the campus of the Hot Springs VA Medical Center.

Krause says the proposal will be presented as part of the overall environmental impact statement process being undertaken by the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine the future of the Hot Springs VA Medical Center. It would create a new osteopathic college on the Hot Springs VA campus.

The college would leverage its research on regenerative medicine for burns into a long-term investment to fund the continued operation of the facility.

Meanwhile, members of the ‘Save the VA Committee’ say their concerns about the proposal center around what’s called an ‘Enhanced Use Lease.” An EUL is essentially a program that uses to rent out unused facilities to non-VA programs. Save the VA Committee member Bob Nelson.

“That really opens the door for the VA to say ‘there’s someone out there that wants these buildings. We can vacate them and move forward with our proposal.’ That concerns us. Those buildings should be up there for veterans. Mr. Krouse’s proposal, if he’s able to pull it off, certainly would enhance that.”

The VNRC says its proposal would only work if the Department of Veterans Affairs decides not to follow through with closing certain elements of the Hot Springs facility.

A Congressional field hearing to discuss the future of the Hot Springs VA is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Hot Springs Mueller Center.

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