Health

Andrew Bork / SDPB

First responders and medical professionals are assessing their performance during a mock helicopter crash. They held the drill Tuesday morning. Crews began by pretending they had Avera helicopter on the Sanford landing pad and people were hurt. 

Rounds for Senate

United States Senator Mike Rounds says he expects Congress will avoid a government shutdown. The current federal funding bill runs out Friday night. Rounds says lawmakers agree on a measure to extend the continuing resolution one week. He says that time allows Congress time to finalize federal government funding through September.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Law enforcement officers soften their stern authority to better serve people experiencing mental health crises. Training in Sioux Falls tests their ability by simulating real-life scenarios. Twenty-five officials learn new policing strategies in Crisis Intervention Training.

Kealey Bultena

Avera leaders say a new campus in Sioux Falls can better serve people with specialty health needs and promote economic growth. Wednesday Avera Health announced plans for building projects including new buildings and a surgical hospital.

Avera on Louise is the name of an additional campus planned for 82 acres at 69th Street and Louise Avenue in Sioux Falls.

Dr. Dave Kapaska is Avera McKennan Hospital’s President and CEO.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Judges, attorneys, and law enforcement endorse a bill in South Dakota’s Statehouse that aims to ease mental health problems for people entering the justice system. House Bill 1183 is a measure that changes competency assessments, creates training for people who work in criminal justice, and encourages works that helps people avoid unnecessary arrests or extended time in jail.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard gets to decide whether certain medical professionals must collaborate with doctors for licensing. Right now certified nurse practitioners and nurse midwives must have an official connection to a physician to get their own licenses. Now lawmakers endorse a bill changing the requirement.

Both chambers of South Dakota’s legislature support Senate Bill 61.

The New Colossus

In The Moment... February 2, 2017 - Show 022, Hour 1

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some South Dakota lawmakers want to loosen regulations on nursing home beds. One measure allows nursing homes to move certain beds within organizations or sell them. A split committee in the State House is sending the legislation to the full chamber.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A drug that reverses opioid overdose is available in South Dakota without a prescription. The option is a response to national trends in painkiller abuse. Pharmacists at Walgreens can dispense the drug. Starting February 1st, Avera and Hy-Vee pharmacies also offer the medication to keep in case of emergency.

A medicine called naloxone reverses the toxic effects of taking too many painkillers. It’s the generic drug for the brand-name Narcan.

Dr. Matthew Stanley with Avera Health says using the nasal spray is the first step in saving someone who overdoses on opioids.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Leaders use the phrase "workforce shortage" often as South Dakota sees low unemployment and a mismatch of skills with job openings. Local hospitals and clinics are not immune. One area health organizations is paying to train students for positions they can’t fill. In turn, students learn on-the-job during internships and commit to staying in town for a few years.

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Sanford Health

Eugene Hoyme, M.D., and Amy Elliott, Ph.D. discuss new FASD Diagnostic standards. The two were part of a group of experts who developed clinical guidelines for diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders based on an analysis of more than 10,000 individuals involved in studies of prenatal alcohol exposure.

Medtronic

Cardiologists in Rapid City are using a new pacemaker that is fully implanted inside a person’s heart. The FDA only recently approved the technology. Doctor Kelly Airey with Rapid City Regional Hospital performed the first procedure to place the pacemaker.  Her patient is impressed.

Paul Baldwin has had two traditional pacemakers to normalize and regulate his heartbeat. When his latest device’s battery was up for replacement, he talked with Dr. Kelly Airey about his options. Baldwin says she recommended a tiny pacemaker that’s self-contained within his heart.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting

West Nile has killed an elderly South Dakotan. State Health Department leaders say the person lived in Yankton County and was in the age range of 80 to 89. That case is one of dozens reported this summer, and officials looking to Labor Day expect even more infections.

South Dakota ended 2015 with 40 cases of West Nile Virus. State epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger says 2016 so far almost doubles last year’s total.

"We’re having a fairly heavy year this year with West Nile," Kightlinger says. "We’ve had 74 cases reported, and the number’s growing every day."

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