Last week the Department of Health moved through the budget setting process. The funding for the Rural Family Residency Program was included in the discussions and the good news is that the program will stay intact. Support for the program is imperative since students educated in South Dakota and who complete their residencies in South Dakota are more likely to practice in South Dakota.

The 2016 legislature made a one-time appropriation of $205,000 in general funds as start-up funding for the Rural Family Residency Track program. Since that time, the program has received initial accreditation and funding of $411,000 ($180,000 general funds plus $230,000 federal funds) for year one of a three-year implementation plan. The program will add two residents each year for the next three years.

Once established, the program will be funded by state/federal Medicaid Graduate Medical Education funds, third party billing by second and third year residents and local contributions. The program achieved accreditation in mid-2017, in time to recruit for a class entering in 2018  and completing residency in 2021.

Also noteworthy, the Department of Corrections was moved to a later date for discussions on discretionary Medicaid inflationary funding. The Joint Committee on Appropriations (JCA) is reviewing updated ongoing general fund revenue from February 2018, which is up $6.2 million, or 5.8 percent, from the revised targeted figures. This is another data point to help with forecasting for fiscal year 2019. JCA is expected to complete the budget setting process for the General Appropriations Act for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 later this week.