Health

Health Issues

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s governor says he wants to fight methamphetamine by punishing bad behavior and reinforcing the good.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he wants to offer incentives to beat addiction. He says he supports allowing offenders who complete court-ordered treatment in a year one opportunity to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. Daugaard says he also supports mandatory jail time for people on probation or parole who fail drug tests.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The first holiday season after someone dies is often difficult for people who loved him or her. It’s full of traditions and gatherings that used to include an important person now gone. One woman says she’s channeling her grief into improving the lives of others because that’s what her son did. 

Melody Hilbert raised three children. Jonah was the second born, sandwiched between two other boys with "J" names.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

People grieving the loss of family members this holiday season are finding comfort in others who’ve experienced loss. Families and friends of people who chose to donate organs before they died connected at an event to honor and remember.

Leaders at Avera hold a program and prayer before talking with people who knew someone who died and chose to donate his or her organs.

Jonah Hilbert died in April at age 31 after struggling with alcoholism. He was still able to donate tissue and his corneas.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard says South Dakotans should not expect millions of dollars from IHS. A deal with the Indian Health Service would have covered medical care for Native Americans who qualify for IHS and Medicaid. The governor says that can’t happen for now.

Indian Health Service leaders agreed to cover millions in medical costs that South Dakota picks up using Medicaid. Governor Dennis Daugaard says that arrangement hinged on the state’s expansion of Medicaid. Because that isn’t happening, does the deal still work?

Dr. Rick Holm is a physician, a husband, a father and a singer. He has been the host of On Call with the Prairie Doc for 15 seasons on SDPB-TV. The 2016 inductee into the South Dakota Hall of Fame also has cancer. Today, surgeons operate on Holm to find out whether or not his cancer has spread. One of Holm's close friends is Tom Dempster. In this Dakota Midday segment, Dempster interviews Holm about his upcoming surgery while the two friends discuss savoring life and the importance of releasing blame in illness.

VA Secretary Visits Hot Springs

Nov 30, 2016
Lee Strubinger / SDPB

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald says he has yet to make a decision whether to close the VA facility in Hot Springs. McDonald took a tour of the hospital Wednesday morning.

McDonald’s visit comes after an Environmental Impact Statement says the VA prefers to close a major part of the facility and move many services to Rapid City.

For over five years Veterans Affairs has been talking about closing the VA facility in Hot Springs.

The hospital is known in part for its Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment program.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some patients with medical needs who don’t require the rigorous attention of hospitals have another option for discharge. Avera in Sioux Falls is now operating a transitional unit to serve people who can leave the hospital but can’t go straight to a nursing home, rehab, or back home.

The State of South Dakota doesn’t allow health providers to add beds for more people in nursing homes, but leaders are making an exception for transitional care.

SDPB

Medicaid expansion would have extended health care coverage to South Dakotans who make too little money to afford health insurance but too much money to qualify for state programs. With President-elect Donald Trump and a GOP Congress promising to repeal or overhaul the Affordable Care Act, Governor Dennis Daugaard has declined to pursue Medicaid expansion in South Dakota. SDPB's Kealey Bultena joins Dakota Midday to discuss the issue that has become problematic for some.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Hundreds of local families who stock their kitchens with help from Feeding South Dakota can now add milk to their cereal. That’s thanks to a drive that motivated individuals and businesses to donate 10,300 gallons of milk. People filling their carts during September paid extra to send milk to Feeding South Dakota. Their donations are now out for delivery.

Monday a refrigerated truck backed up to the Feeding South Dakota building. Four hundred gallons rolled out of the cooler and into the warehouse. The milk is the first installment of more than 10,000 gallons. 

SDPB

South Dakotans don't have the answers to many of their health care questions. Between federal administration changes and decisions at the state level, the issue of delivering quality, cost-effective health care is bathed in uncertainty. SDPB's Kealey Bultena joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to answer many of those frequently asked questions.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans don’t have answers to many of their health care questions. Between federal administration changes and decisions at the state level, the issue of delivering quality, cost-effective health care is bathed in uncertainty. Local advocates say patients should not panic; instead they say people can better understand the factors at play nationally and within South Dakota – and know that people are fighting for their wellness.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Medicaid expansion in South Dakota may not happen, but many health care providers say they’re not giving up on reforms that could help the working poor. Some health leaders are looking for other ways to deliver medical care to thousands of people.

Doctor Tim Ridgway says the point of the complicated medical system is to take care of people and improve the health of all individuals in communities.

Ridgway says navigating those elements and figuring out how to pay for all of it is an intricate process.

Sanford Health

November is national Palliative Care and Hospice Month. Dr. Terri Peterson Henry, a physician with the Sanford Palliative Care Health Team, and Dr. Joyce Nelson, Professor Emeritus of Nursing at Augustana University, Join Dakota Midday for a conversation about palliative care, advanced directives, and using Thanksgiving as a time to have the difficult conversations with your family about end-of-life wishes. These resources are available: www.gowish.org and www.lifecirclesd.org

Dakota Midday: Polio Treatment In South Dakota

Nov 21, 2016
Sanford Health

This week's Images of the Past feature focuses on the history of polio treatment in South Dakota. Dr. Lon Kightlinger, South Dakota state epidemiologist, and Dr. Archana Chatterjee, pediatric infectious disease specialist with Sanford Health, discuss the history of polio treatment in the state and take a look at current challenges regarding communicable disease threats and vaccinations.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

National health experts are looking to South Dakota strategies as they discuss rural health care. The US Department of Health and Human Services showcased Avera’s telemedicine efforts with viewers around the country. It was part of an effort about National Rural Health Day.

Avera’s eCare services use high-quality video and audio to connect Sioux Falls physicians with small town hospital staff. This allows doctors and nurses to collaborate on treating rural patients in real time.

www.usda.gov

Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Agriculture, discusses a federally sponsored, state-administered food program that provides suppers for children in South Dakota.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

State lawmakers say improving quality of health care remains a legislative priority. This on the heels of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s announcement that he will not support Medicaid expansion in 2017. That has lawmakers examining work between the state and federal government.

South Dakota Unified Judicial System

South Dakota Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson discusses the recommendations of the Mental Health Task Force and details the legislative support required to implement suggestions.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota political leaders say Medicaid expansion is off the table in the 2017 legislative session.  But one lawmaker says that doesn’t solve the problem of people not being able to afford health coverage.

Governor Dennis Daugaard announced Tuesday that he will not prioritize Medicaid expansion in the next legislative session. He says he made the decision to not expand Medicaid in South Dakota after a meeting with Vice President Elect Mike Pence.

VA Prefers Move Out Of Hot Springs In EIS

Nov 10, 2016
Nicole Griffith / SDPB

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the Black Hills is continuing to push for a move to Rapid City from Hot Springs.  The agency released an Environmental Impact Statement detailing its plans.

But South Dakota’s congressional delegation, and many Hot Springs area veterans and residents are critical of the move.

The Environmental Impact Statement or EIS says the Veterans Affairs Black Hills Healthcare system hopes to construct a multi-specialty outpatient clinic and 100 bed residential rehabilitation treatment program in Rapid City.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new form of radiation therapy allows breast cancer patients to avoid weeks of trips back-and-forth to the hospital. That means some women who live far away from treatment centers don’t have to jeopardize their health if they can’t make it to radiation. A Sioux Falls hospital is one of eight in the country using what's called IORT. 

Eighteen months ago, Lu Rice was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Madison woman knew she needed surgery and radiation. She’s seen people go through treatment for five days a week.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

October brings a sea of pink to billboards, t-shirts, stores and even the NFL. Talking about every aspect of breast cancer during a designated awareness month is impossible. Patients and health providers say each person's journey is unique. A common thread does exist among these individual stories: a tenacious fight against allowing cancer any control.

The women featured here refuse to relinquish their dignity, their decisions, and their lives to a devastating disease - and each manifests this perseverance in a different way.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new agreement preserves health insurance options for 26,000 State of South Dakota employees. State leaders and Sanford Health negotiated to cover state employees at an in-network cost. That allows some DakotaCare patients to see Sanford doctors without huge price increases.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

Regional Health in Rapid City is announcing a multi-year renovation and expansion project.
 
The main hospital campus is slated to expand by about 250-thousand square feet.

Regional Health officials are calling the plans the most significant renovation and expansion project in its history.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Sioux Falls doctor says insurance status often dictates resources available for meth users who want to break free from the drug. Health leaders say meth is a dangerous substance with devastating physical, mental, and social ramifications.

A typical poster condemning meth use displays a disheveled person with a miserable gaze, ashen skin and open sores. Doctor Jennifer Tinguely with Falls Community Health in Sioux Falls says meth affects every system of the body. She says the drug triggers a rush of hormones including dopamine, adrenaline, and serotonin.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Thousands of South Dakotans must change doctors and clinics if they want their health insurance to cover the care. Starting January 1, 2017, Sanford Health no longer accepts Avera insurance including DakotaCare, and Avera Health in South Dakota isn't taking Sanford Health Plan insurance. That leaves some people who can't afford to pay out of pocket with little choice, and it requires others to leave trusted medical providers to find new services that work with their insurance.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Avera Health is removing its South Dakota hospitals, clinics, and physicians from the Sanford Health Plan. The change means people who have Sanford insurance won’t have coverage if they go to Avera’s providers. It’s the latest development in a health care clash among the state’s two largest health systems.

Black Hills VA Hosts Mental Health Summit

Sep 14, 2016
Courtesy Veterans Administration

The VA Black Hills Health Care System is hosting a series of mental health summits designed for veterans, their families, veterans’ service organizations and local agencies. The goal of the events is to create collaborative efforts to enhance the mental health and well-being of veterans and their families.

IHS To Close Sioux San ER September 20th

Sep 13, 2016
wrong picture
Lee Strubinger / SDPB

Indian Health Service officials are temporally closing the emergency room at Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City.  Officials say the closure is meant to improve overall care and begin renovations on the facility. Officials do not have an immediate date for when ER services might be resumed.  

The VA Black Hills Health Care System plans to end service to veterans in the Eagle Butte, Isabel and Faith areas by October. We spoke to the VA’s administrator as well as a Lakota veterans’ representative on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and files this report.

It’s a 290 mile roundtrip from Eagle Butte to the Black Hills VA health care facility in Sturgis.

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