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Critical Staffing Shortfalls lead to reduced hours at Hot Springs VA

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. – The Director of VA Black Hills Health Care System sent a letter to enrolled Veterans explaining an upcoming change to Urgent Care hours of operation on the Hot Springs campus. The letter dated October 21, 2019, states “Effective November 4, 2019, the hours of Urgent Care will become 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Urgent Care will follow the same schedule as Primary Care and close on Federal holidays.”

The change in hours is the result of critical staffing shortfalls. Because of the challenge of recruitment and retention of qualified providers, nurses, and ancillary services, such as laboratory and radiology services, the difficult decision was made to reduce hours. The Urgent Care clinic will continue to provide the highest level of Veteran care and maximize the available community resources under the MISSION Act 2018.

“We will work with all our community health care providers to ensure our Veterans receive the care they need when they need it.” said Sandra Horsman VA Black Hills Health Care System Director. “We encourage Veterans to use our Call Center for health-related questions and triage at 1-877-339-6837 and same day access in Primary Care and Mental Health and during a medical emergency, seek immediate medical attention without delay.”

The letter explained, Veterans do not need to check with VA before calling for an ambulance or going to an Emergency Department. A claim for emergency care will never be denied based solely on VA not receiving notification prior to seeking care. A list of network Urgent Care facilities for eligible Veterans can be found at https://bit.ly/32EXDbv.  It is important to promptly notify VA after receiving emergency care at a community Emergency Department. Notification should be made within 72 hours of admission to a community medical facility. This allows VA to assist the Veteran in coordinating necessary care or transfer and helps to ensure that the administrative and clinical requirements for VA to pay for the care are met. Emergency Room notification can be made by calling VA Black Hills Health Care System at 605-745-2000.

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