SDAHO

The state public health lab is organizing mass COVID-19 testing in nursing homes over the next month—starting in communities with substantial spread of the virus.

Long-term care facilities in the state face two overwhelming challenges. Their residents are some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19. In fact, more than half of the state’s COVID fatalities are older patients.   The pandemic is also exacerbating existing financial challenges.      

Six nursing homes in South Dakota closed over the last year and a half--including the Hudson Care and Rehab Center within the last month. The closures are driven by low Medicaid reimbursement rates from the state. 

The legislature approved a 10% reimbursement increase earlier this year. But testimony during last week's Government Operations and Audit Committee meeting shows the problem is far from solved. 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s congressional delegation is still intent to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Healthcare leaders in South Dakota say congressional legislative proposals could hurt the state.

Barb Storbeck helps people enroll for health insurance through the exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act.

She says many of her clients were getting health insurance for the first time.

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.

Governor Dennis Daugaard is not asking lawmakers to expand Medicaid this session. State officials received a letter from the federal government outlining policy changes, but the Governor says there’s not enough time in the final days of the session to fully consider the issue.