HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's congressional delegation is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to extend the comment period on a study that looks at the impact that closing a Hot Springs hospital would have on veterans.

U.S. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds and U.S. Representative Kristi Noem have requested the extension in a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

VA officials have proposed shuttering the historic Battle Mountain Sanitarium, transitioning long-term care services to Rapid City and leaving only an outpatient clinic in Hot Springs. Veterans have vehemently opposed this proposal.

The study released last month showed the VA's proposal would have an estimated 30-year cost of over $148.5 million.

The public comment period is scheduled to end Jan. 5. Lawmakers are asking to extend it to February 5th.

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