In the fall of 1926, hospital administrators and physicians from around the state met in Huron to create the South Dakota Hospital Association, which in 1995 became the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO). The health care situation in South Dakota at the time of the organizing of the association was described as being on an even keel. Early annual conferences consisted mainly of discussions of ways and means to improve hospital services, conservation in purchasing and improving public relations. The financial crash of 1928 and the drought of the 1930s began a rapid change in these conditions.
The first legislative committee was appointed in 1932 at the annual conference. Just one year later, the committee was successful in convincing a special session of the South Dakota Legislature to allocate about 50 percent of a newly created beverage tax on beer to be reverted back to counties to be used in part for the “hospitalization of the indigent.”
Until 1958, the headquarters of the association moved around the state, being located wherever the elected chairperson resided. In that year, space was leased in the St. Charles Hotel in Pierre for the central office. The association had four executive directors. The first was Jack Rogers, who served for less than one year before resigning. William Murphy was the second director, serving from November of 1962 to 1975. Immediately following was Frank Drew who served as president until May 1997.
In 1952, the Association became affiliated with the American Hospital Association and in 1956 the association was incorporated in South Dakota offering various types of memberships that parallel those of the American Hospital Association. In 1995, the association affiliated with the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Educational programs and discussions among administrators have been a tradition since the formation of the Association. As issues became more complex, the related groups meeting with the Association at its annual convention have grown from auxilians in 1956 to include 27 affiliated personal membership groups covering a wide range of the directors, managers and coordinators who work in hospitals, long term care facilities, home health agencies and assisted living centers.
Although the number of hospitals has been reduced since its conception, the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations has continued to grow and enlarge its role as a support service to hospitals and other health care organizations.
SDAHO publications include: the weekly Unified Voice Newsletter, Trustee Report, Trustee Glossary and the Federal Issues Brief, which states our Member’s unified position on health care in South Dakota with our congressional delegation.
The association administers four health care data programs: DataBank, provides a financial picture of South Dakota hospitals in the aggregate and by operating expense groups; Dakota Dimensions is a patient origin and destination database; and Long Term Care Provider Reporting and Evaluation Program (LTC Prep) is a web-based database of long term care utilization and financial performance. HANY’S Based Program provides a comprehensive cost report data base allowing SDAHO members to estimate the financial impact of policy reforms on individual hospitals and the state. SDAHO also publishes a wage, salary and benefits survey which is available to participating institutional members.
In 1986, the Association built a permanent home in Sioux Falls. The Central Office is under the direction of the President/CEO who serves at the pleasure of, and is responsible to, the Board of Trustees. The staff is divided into five areas of responsibility; Long Term Care Services, Communications and Education, Professional and Clinical Services; Health Data Systems and Education. The staff manages the day-to-day affairs of the Association and is charged with the implementation of Association policies and programs as developed and approved by the Board of Trustees.
The association is financed principally through membership dues. Currently, SDAHO’s annual operating expense budget approximates $1.96 million.