The 2022 South Dakota Legislative session ended with several wins in the healthcare column. Out of 551 bills introduced this session, SDAHO actively followed 131 of those bills. Overall, it was a good session for healthcare, as several good pieces of legislation were passed while many others were prevented from passing, which would have negatively impacted the healthcare community.
Medical marijuana was a heavily debated topic throughout the entire session. In the end most of the requested changes made by the healthcare community to legislation regarding medical marijuana were made.
We saw several anti-vaccinations bills this session, including, Senate Bill 211, which was brought on behalf of Governor Kristi Noem. The measure protects an individual’s conscience from entities requiring the COVID-19 vaccine. It was amended early in session, stating the act does not apply to healthcare professionals and the South Dakota National Guard Members. However, by the end of session lawmakers were not able to come to an agreement on the measure, killing it when the conference committee’s report was not adopted.
Our state’s workforce challenges, and housing needs were heavily debated over the past several weeks, resulting in the passage of several bills that will positively impact healthcare workforce challenges and housing needs.
- House Bill 1033 – will provide funding for the housing infrastructure through loans and grants. The South Dakota Housing Opportunity fund will receive general funds in the amount of $150-million dollars, with $50 million additional dollars coming from the American Rescue Plan Act. The dollars will help pay for construction infrastructure costs, which is needed in communities across South Dakota trying to attract workforce, which includes healthcare.
- Senate Bill 43 – authorized the South Dakota Board of Regents to design, renovate and construct an addition onto Black Hills State Universities Rapid City Campus, resulting in a health sciences center. This new center will provide additional space for an increased enrollment numbers in the nursing program. The measure made it all the way to the Governor’s desk where it waits her signature.
- Senate Bill 44 – allows for the demolition of Briscoe Hall and the existing Lincoln Hall at the Campus of Northern State University and the design and construction of a new Lincoln Hall, which will allow for an expansion of the SDSU College of Nursing, at the Aberdeen site.
- Senate Bill 55 will provide $50-million dollars in federal funds to be used for grants for the continued expansion of broadband across South Dakota. With an increased need for telehealth services, these funds will be put to good use.
Ivermectin received attention this session in the form of House Bill 1267. The Bill would have allowed for certain medical professionals to dispense the drug to individuals. SDAHO spoke in opposition of the bill in both house and senate committee hearings. After making its way through the House side, members of the Senate Health and Human services committee killed it on a 7 to 0 vote.
There were several other key issues debated in Pierre that will impact the healthcare community. These measures have passed both the House of Representatives and the full Senate, and have been delivered to the Governor for final approval.
- House Bill 1030 – will provide funding to continue the healthcare recruitment assistance program.
- House Bill 1038 – establishes an opioid abatement and remediation fund.
- House Bill 1086 – will provide for the redistribution of donated prescription drugs and medical supplies.
- House Bill 1123 – establishes licensure for rural emergency hospitals.
- Senate Bill 93 – revises certain provisions related to the use of epinephrine and supraglottic airway devices by ambulance services.
- Senate Bill 136 – revise and clarify certain processes for emergency detainment related to drug and alcohol abuse.
Last, Governor Kristi Noem announced during her Budget Address a recommended 6% increase for Medicaid providers, which was approved by lawmakers. In addition to the increase, the legislature agreed to an additional $10.2 million dollars in one-time funding that will go to long term care facilities with a higher Medicaid percentage.
Lawmakers will return to Pierre on March 28 to consider any gubernatorial vetos, for the latest up-to-date information, visit the SDAHO Bill Tracker.