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SDAHO’s Rural Health Leaders Annual Conference a Success: Focus on Workforce Needs in Healthcare

The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) hosted its annual Rural Health Leaders Conference in Ft. Pierre, July 12-13, with the main focus on workforce needs in the nursing sector.

This in-person event was attended by healthcare professionals from across the state to take part in two-days of robust conversations focusing on South Dakota’s nursing workforce shortage in addition to other rural healthcare needs.

Michella Sybesma, VP of Education and Communication, “SDAHO’s education committee was instrumental in planning this event in conjunction with the South Dakota Board of Nursing and Center for Nursing Workforce. This collaboration allowed us to bring in a facilitator to help moderate discussion, pose questions and dive into real conversations to address healthcare workforce issues and challenges impacting our rural healthcare communities.”

Conference attendees discuss healthcare workforce

South Dakota state leaders kicked off the conference, by participating in a 90-minute workforce panel addressing state workforce initiatives. Presenters included: Sec. Joan Adams from the SD Department of Health;  Sec. Marcia Hultman from the SD Dept. of Labor; Laura Scheibe from the SD Dept. of Education; Lindsay Olson with the SD Center for Nursing Workforce and SD Board of Nursing; Dr. Brian Maher with the SD Board of Regents; and SD Board of Technical Education. Tammy Hatting, COO of SDAHO, “It is incredible that SDAHO was able to bring so many of our state leaders and policy makers together for this one conference, that is huge and something that a lot of other associations from other states would love to replicate. South Dakota is unique in the way we collaborate and I’m so grateful they all participated to share valuable information for our members.”

Dr. Brian Maher

Attendees were able to hear from industry leaders on rural health trends, such as 340B, presented by SUNRx, who sponsored this years conference. The session titled; 340B Past, Present and Future, included the history of 340B, updates to the program and where member facilities can receive assistance with their prescription drug needs.

Josh Jorgensen, Policy Director from the National Rural Health Association, shared insight on the future of rural healthcare as being discussed in congress and the impact that may have on rural healthcare.

The SDAHO team collected information, comments and suggestions provided by attendees during breakout conversations. “Our team will now review the information and ideas brought forward and determine next steps and action items as we look to help with solutions to our state’s nursing workforce shortage.” Michella Sybesma, VP Education and Communication

Prior to SDAHO’s 2022 Rural Health Leaders conference, SDAHO partnered with the South Dakota Healthcare Coalition and the Department of Health to co-host a special Crisis Standards of Care Interdisciplinary Tabletop Exercise. This roundtable discussion included conversations centered on escalation of medical care during large scale emergencies and communication between hospital, nursing homes, EMS and other community partners. This special two hour event was aimed at hospital and long-term care emergency preparedness planners, leadership teams, and clinical nurse leaders.

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