Rep. Kristi Noem issued the following statement on the one year anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposal to close the Medical Center in Hot Springs:
"One year ago, residents in Hot Springs were blindsided by a proposal that would shutter operations at the Medical Center and turn their community upside down. From the start, the community has been involved in trying to work with the VA, and its commitment to veterans and the Medical Center is inspirational.
"When the proposal was announced, the VA promised an open and transparent process, and Secretary Eric Shinseki also made assurances to that. Regretfully, that has not been the case. Furthermore, the VA has essentially discounted the tremendous effort put into a counterproposal by stakeholders in Hot Springs.
"Multiple attempts to engage Secretary Shinseki have been overlooked. Over two months ago, I was joined by seven members of Congress in requesting a meeting with the Secretary. We have not received a response and additional requests and phone calls have yet to yield results.
"I remain committed to ensuring our veterans continue to receive the highest quality of care. Unfortunately, the VA has grossly mishandled its proposal for Hot Springs. While I am frustrated by the failings of the VA, my resolve to fight for this community is stronger than ever. I will continue advocating for the people of Hot Springs and will not take the pressure off the VA."