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Sioux Falls VA gets new director following last year's administrative shakeup
Former director ousted in April '22 amid complaints about long wait times, quality of care
The Sioux Falls Veterans Affairs hospital has new leadership after administrative turmoil last year led to the former director’s ouster from the federal healthcare agency.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the appointment of Sara Ackert as the medical center director for the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System.
Ackert comes from within the VA system, working in the VA in various capacities for 33 years and most recently serving as associate director of resources and operations for Central Iowa VA Health Care System.
Robert McDivitt, the VA’s Midwest executive director of health care, said Ackert is a proven leader.
“I am certain she will continue to prove to be a huge asset for our (system), our employees and volunteers, our health care partners, the community, and importantly, for the Veterans we are honored to serve,” he said.
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Ackert replaces Lisa Simoneau as the director of the Sioux Falls VA. Simoneau was removed from the position in April 2022 after calls for leadership changes from staff, the South Dakota Veterans Council and South Dakota’s congressional delegation amid complaints of long-wait times, quality of care and a lack of responsiveness from VA administration.
Those gripes were documented in a formal declaration of no confidence in Sioux Falls' VA leadership by the Veterans Council in October 2021 and in a subsequent letter sent by U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds to VA brass in Washington, D.C.
Rounds in a statement sent to The Dakota Scout Wednesday said he’ll continue to monitor VA operations to ensure veterans are getting the care they deserve.
“Our veterans have made incredible sacrifices to serve our country. We have an obligation to make sure they receive the benefits they have earned,” he said. “As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I remain committed to working with the new leadership at the Sioux Falls VA as they work to reestablish its reputation as the ‘Gem of the Prairie.’”
Ackert holds a Master of Healthcare Administration from Des Moines University, a Bachelor of Science Degree of Nursing with emphasis in psychology from Grandview College.