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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Bill Encourages Helping Hand

House Bill 1233 passed the Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday in the legislature. The bill makes revisions to existing law that allows doctors to treat patients at no charge and not have to worry about being sued afterwards.

Doctors across the state are looking for ways to utilize their skills to help those that struggle financially. Lawmakers are looking to House Bill 1233 to carve out exceptions so that current laws do not get in the way of helping people. Legislators say the bill expands on what current South Dakota law already recognizes.

Representative Steve Hickey says it is about humanity and people and communities coming together in times of need.

“What we’re talking about here is helping people who are having their own personal crisis who don’t have the resources to go and get help,” says Hickey.

Lawmakers say that health-care providers are sometimes reluctant to volunteer their services because they open themselves up to potential lawsuits.

“What this does is releases a number of qualified and very able people in our community to go help people who need help,” says Hickey.

The legislation does not provide blanket immunity for doctors but rather it provides immunity in specific cases and only applies to care given in South Dakota. House Bill 1233 goes next to the House Floor.