Quality Integration

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” ~William A. Foster

Welcome to the Quality Integration page! We are excited to offer you the latest information, resources in healthcare quality. On this page you will find information for all things Quality related including Organizational Leadership, Patient Safety, Process Improvement, and Hospital Resources to name a few. The intent is to provide a one stop shop so you no longer need to go several websites to gather information instead you can visit the Quality Integration page and find the resources you need. We are excited to be on this journey with you and provide the resources and the support you need to be successful in your role.

SDAHO Quality Integration department vision statement is to be the Leading Experts in Quality which directly supports SDAHO mission of Advancing healthy communities through a unified voice across the health care continuum. The Quality Integration work occurs under the SDAHO Healthcare, Research Education, Trust (HRET) which is a 501c3 non-profit corporation. If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to the contact the SDAHO Quality team. Our contact information is listed below. Any one of us is happy to assist.

Quality Team
  • Loretta Bryan, Clinical Improvement Consultant, Loretta.Bryan@sdaho.org, 605-789-7531
    • Loretta supports hospitals located South of I-90 and the Black Hills Region
  • Michelle Hofer, Clinical Improvement Consultant, Michelle.Hofer@sdaho.org, 605-789-4995
    • Michelle supports the hospitals located North of I-90 and Southeastern Minnesota
  • Lindsay Stroman, Workforce Development Coordinator, Linday.Stroman@sdaho.org, 605-789-7537
  • Becky Heisinger, Director of Quality Integration, Becky.Heisinger@sdaho.org, 605-789-7529
Click on the buttons below to view more information
Avoid Opioid SD
Avoid Opioid SD is a joint effort between the South Dakota Department of Health and Department of Social Services to address opioid abuse and misuse in the state as part of the South Dakota Opioid Abuse Strategic Plan.
Great Plains Quality Innovation Network
Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN) is the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The development of Great Plains QIN reflects changes to legislation that impacts the structure of the QIO program. Great Plains QIN partner organizations have a long history of working collaboratively together, serving as their state’s QIO and improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the region.
South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care
The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) is committed to improve quality of care and to ensure all patients receive the right care, at the right time, every time. As the designated QIO-Like Entity for South Dakota, SDFMC performs medical case review for Medicaid patients across the state.
Quality Improvement Resource Guide
The purpose of this guide is to familiarize you with quality improvement processes as a way of improving clinical quality. While many of the examples within the guide are related to cardiovascular disease, the quality improvement process can be applied to any process or condition where improvements are needed.
Team-Based Care Toolkit
Team-based health care is the provision of health services to individuals, families, and/or their communities by at least two health providers who work collaboratively with patients and their caregivers—to the extent preferred by each patient—to accomplish shared goals within and across settings to achieve coordinated, high quality care.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is the federal agency charged with improving health care through research.
The portion of Hospital Compare that displays information on patient perspectives of their hospital care.
Hospital Compare
A web site that displays information about inpatient hospital care.
Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement is a national organization that provides a number of free resources for quality improvement.
Institute for Safe Medication Practices
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) is a not-for-profit organization that works closely with healthcare practitioners and institutions, regulatory agencies, professional organizations and the pharmaceutical industry to provide education about adverse drug events and their prevention.
A business-sponsored, membership organization that seeks to publish information on hospital quality and safety practices.
National Quality Forum
The National Quality Forum (NQF) strives to improve health care through the endorsement of consensus-based national standards for measurement and public reporting of healthcare performance data.
Quality Check
The Joint Commission publishes information on hospital quality on its Web site “Quality Check.”
The Joint Commission
This national organization inspects hospitals to ensure they meet certain quality standards.

Quality News

SDAHO Soundbites: Opportunities for Improvement in Treatment

Earlier this spring the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) launched a podcast series titled SDAHO Soundbites. These short audio clips pull information...

Quality Corner: SD CAHs Gear Up for New MBQIP Measures at SDAHO Workshop

Last month, the SDAHO Quality Integration hosted the annual MBQIP Workshop in Sioux Falls.  This workshop is sponsored by the South Dakota Medicare Rural...

SDAHO Soundbites Podcast: Dosing and Weaning Off Opioids Safety

Earlier this spring the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) launched a podcast series titled SDAHO Soundbites. These short audio clips pull information...


Purpose of MBQIP:  MBQIP is a quality improvement activity under the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s (FORHP) Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) grant program. Launched in 2011, the goal of MBQIP is to improve the quality of care provided in critical access hospitals (CAHs) by increasing quality data reporting by CAHs and then driving quality improvement activities based on the data. MBQIP provides an opportunity for individual hospitals to look at their data, compare their results against other CAHs, and partner with other hospitals around quality improvement initiatives to improve outcomes and provide the highest quality care to every patient. MBQIP/Flex program is brought to you by the SD Office of Rural Health. The SD Flex Coordinator is Michelle Hoffman. If you have questions on how this program is administered, please contact Michelle at: Michelle.Hoffman@state.sd.us

Did you know?

Did you know that by participating in the MBQIP/Flex program, SD hospitals have received benefits such as:

  • CPHQ exam preparation
  • Access to Antibiotic Stewardship education,
  • Trauma webinar series through SD Trauma program,
  • Emergency Nurse Pediatric course
  • Revenue cycle trainings,
  • Charge master reporting tool
  • Billing and coding education
  • Individual hospital performance improvement projects
  • Various Quality speakers

Without your participation in MBQIP/FLEX, these programs and benefits would not be available.

This table lists the core MBQIP Measure for South Dakota. There are 4 domains: Patient safety/inpatient, patient engagement, care transitions and outpatient.



Below is information that will help to answer questions you may have or provide you with additional resources. If you are not finding the information you are looking for, please contact the SDAHO Quality Team by emailing Loretta.Bryan@sdaho.org or Michelle Hofer at Michelle.Hofer@sdaho.org.

HCP/IMM-3 (formerly OP-27): Antibiotic Stewardship:
Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS):
Emergency Department Transfer Communication (EDTC):
AMI (OP-2 & OP-3): ED Throughput Measures (OP-18): Patient left without being seen (OP-22):
  • This data is collected yearly and entered into HARP
  • MBQIP Monthly April 2022: Scroll to page 4, you will find detailed instructions on how to enter OP-22 into HARP
  • To check if your OP-22 data has been received by CMS, please click here and type in your hospital 6-digit CNN number. Click enter and you will see information stating Yes/No about your OP-22 data. Please note the dates the page was last updated to ensure you did not submit after that timeframe.
  • Resources
  • How to set up a new account in HARP: Both steps need to be done to be able to enter data into HARP
    • Step 1: Click here and follow video instructions on HARP Registration Training Video
    • Step 2: Click here and follow the instructions under “To Register as a Basic User or Security Administrator/Official in the new Hospital Quality Reporting (HQR) System. We recommend asking for Security Administrator/Office.
  • When you register, you will have 2 different webpages to use for HARP. Your same username and password can be used on both pages; however, your HARP data gets uploaded to the Hospital Reporting Page (#2 below)
    1. HCQIS Access Roles and Profile page = HARP Access Roles and Profile link
    2. CMS.gov: Hospital Quality Reporting page = HARP Hospital Quality Reporting link
The Future of MBQIP: Are You Ready? | Courtnay Ryan, Telligen | PresentationVideo

A Dive Into Emergency Department Transfer Communication (EDTC) | Courtnay Ryan, Telligen | Presentation | Video

Using your MBQIP Data Data Report to Inform Your Quality Improvement Project | Courtnay Ryan, Telligen | PresentationVideo

Psychological SafetyMolly Mackey, LEAderRNship Institute | Presentation

Surveyor PreparednessJean Koch, SD Dept of Health | Presentation



HQIC stands for Hospital Quality Improvement Contractor. SDAHO is contracted with Iowa Health Collaborative (IHC) to support hospital efforts to increase patient safety and improve quality of care. This is the fourth Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) led hospital quality improvement program since 2012. It is a national initiative which began in 2020, continues through 2024, and is designed to support critical access hospitals, and hospitals that are low performing and serve vulnerable populations. IHC and partner organizations collectively known as the Compass Network includes SDAHO, Kansas Healthcare Collaborative, and Mississippi Hospital Association. IHC’s mission is to facilitate exceptional healthcare quality, safety, and value in the nation. HQIC guiding themes are:  Patient Centered, High Reliability and Culture of Safety, Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration, and Partnering Beyond the Quality Team. The data collected for this project is entered into the Compass Data Portal and NHSN. We highly encourage entering data monthly, the data is due 45 days after the month end.

Did you know? 

Did you know that participating in the HQIC program provides benefits such as:

  • Responding to emerging patient safety issues via an agile and responsive approach
  • Evaluating population-based data that is specific to the facility or area of the country
  • Access to patient level data for quality improvement efforts
  • Education and networking opportunities
  • Participating in a program specifically designed for Critical Access Hospitals
  • Facilitating healthcare transformation through identification, use and spread of evidence-based practice
  • Access to quality improvement guidance via state-specific quality consultant
  • Ongoing action to adapt and test practices in support of achieving the following goals:
    • Goal 1: Improve Behavioral Health Outcomes with a focus on decreased opioid misuse
    • Goal 2: Increase Patient Safety with a focus on reduction of harm
    • Goal 3: Increase the Quality-of-Care Transitions with a focus on high utilizers in an effort to improve overall utilization

Below is information that will help to answer questions you may have or provide you with additional resources. If you are not finding the information you are looking for, please contact the SDAHO Quality Team by emailing Loretta.Bryan@sdaho.org or Michelle.Hofer@sdaho.org

  • Orientation guide
    • This orientation guide is very important to any new quality improvement professional. It is the first step in learning about the Compass HQIC, including its measures, resources and much more.  Please read through it carefully and follow any instructions.
    • Compass HQIC Network Overview
  • Getting started: Compass Checklist
    • Follow the 3 steps on this form to get connected, registered for Compass education, and get access to the Compass Portal. We encourage you do the 3 steps as soon as possible when first starting the HQIC program.
Compass HQIC self-reported data is due into the portal 45 days from the month end. For example: January data would be due March 15th.
  • Compass HQIC Measure Set
    • This measure set serves as a guide for the states within our HQIC network (including SD) on each individual measure.
  • Review the key closely at the top of the measure set to better understand the data sources. Some measures are required, and some are optional. Please note data sources include:
    1. Self-reported (Compass portal)
    2. Administrative claims
    3. NHSN
  • Specific resources under each measure set section are listed in the next tab called “Measure Set Resources”.
  • Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSI)
    • This is reported in the NHSN portal monthly
    • FAQs: Bloodstream Infection (BSI) Events this site has a great amount of information about CLABSI.
    • If you would like to email NHSN to verify a CLABSI- use the FAQ link above and scroll to number Q31. It will tell you exactly how to email them and what template to use.
    • NHSN Healthcare‐associated Infection (HAI) and Present on Admission Infection (POA) Worksheet Generator - This calculator on the NHSN website provides a working document to help guide hospitals in identifying Healthcare-associated infections.   It helps identify the 7-day window period, date of event, present on arrival, Healthcare-associated infection determination, 14 days repeat infection, and secondary bloodstream infection attribution period
  • Health Equity Organizational Assessment (HEOA)
    • These questions are on the Compass portal and are answered bi-annually.
    • A three-part course on HEOA – This course is very helpful going through each question on the HEOA assessment.
  • Patient and Family Engagement (PFE)
  • iCompass Academy eLearning this website has multiple educational opportunities. It is free and we recommend all Compass users register for this website.
  • REAL Readmission Report Guide
  • Health Equity Pledge
    • Health Equity Roadmap - This document explains the Health Equity Pledge and gives an excellent roadmap on health equity.
  • SMARTIE Goals
    • SMARTIE goals require us to think of inclusion and equity in setting goals that will
      lead to better outcomes and the change we are all working toward

NHSN stands for National Healthcare Safety Network. It is a secure, internet-based surveillance system managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data entered NHSN include vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel, antibiotic stewardship, and patient safety component. The patient safety component includes MDRO (multidrug-resistant organisms), procedure-associated module and the device-associated module.

** the NHSN items and guidance contained here are specific to FLEX/MBQIP and Compass HQIC programs and may not include all details for other hospital specific data entry requirements

Did you know?
  • CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network is the nation’s most widely used healthcare-associated infection tracking system.
  • NHSN began decades ago, starting with 300 hospitals but now serves over 25,000 medical facilities.
  • Current participants in NHSN data tracking include acute care hospitals, long-term care acute care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient dialysis centers, ambulatory surgery centers and nursing homes.
  • NHSN provides facilities, states, regions, and the nation with data needed to identify problem areas, measure progress of prevention efforts, and ultimately eliminate healthcare-associated infections.
  • NHSN allows healthcare facilities to track blood safety errors and important healthcare process measures such as healthcare personnel influenza vaccine status and infection control adherence rates.
  • While ensuring data security, integrity, and confidentiality, NHSN gives healthcare facilities the ability to see their data in real-time and share that information with clinicians and facility leadership, as well as with other facilities (e.g., a multihospital system) and partners such as health departments or quality improvement organizations. CDC provides the standard national measures for HAIs as well as analytic tools that enable each facility to assess its progress and identify where additional efforts are needed.
  • NHSN is the conduit for facilities to comply with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) infection reporting requirements.
  • NHSN data is posted publicly on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Hospital Compare website for patients’ use.
  • Determine if your facility is enrolled in NHSN and/or find the name of facility administrator: click here.
  • Acute Care Hospital 5-Step Enrollment
  • CAH Enrollment Guide
  • Reassign facility administrator with current facility administrator still available:
    1. If the current facility administrator is still at the facility but need to reassign the role: To make the change as the present facility administrator, go to left navigation panel. Select > Facility> then > Add/Edit component>. Select Reassign, a pop-up will appear asking you to find and select an existing user or add a user who will be reassigned this role. Select their name and then select the Reassign button at the bottom of the page.
      • Request access if NO site administrator/Facility Administrator Reassignment: click here
  • Add an additional user to a facility (must be done by assigned administrator):
    1. After selecting NHSN reporting, from the left navigational bar, click on Users>ADD and complete the required fields (marked with *) and SAVE at the bottom of the page. You will then be prompted to assign the new user rights needed to use NHSN. Click SAVE at the bottom of the page. To get access to NHSN, users must have an active SAMS account. If users are not active in SAMS, after being added as a user they will receive a Welcome to NHSN email. They should follow the prompt to accept the Rules of Behavior which will prompt the SAMS invitation.
Patient Safety Component (PCS) Training - on this page, you will find:
  1. NHSN overview: 8-minute video on navigating in NHSN. Scroll to PSC/Quick Learns and click on video under Navigating the NHSN Application.
  2. Mapping: 10-minute video on how to determine your populations in NHSN for location mapping: Scroll to PSC overview and click on video under Patient Safety Component Location Mapping.
  3. HAI Present on Admission - scroll to PSC overview/Quick Learns and click on video under Determining Health Care Association or Present on Admission Infections and other Rules.
Most of your NHSN data will be under Patient Safety Component, however your annual flu summary will be under Healthcare Personnel. See additional information on Annual Flu Survey in the tab below.
  1. What does this mean? Hospitals need to give rights to SDAHO and the Iowa Health Collaborative (both are important) to allow us to see your data. We put this data into run charts and help you interpret what your data means. Also, by seeing your data we can best serve you with education in the NHSN portal.
  2. Here are instructions on how to confer rights with the Iowa Health Collaborative.
  3. To Confer Rights with SDAHO, follow the same guidelines in the instructions above, but use the number 48047 – SD HINN (SDAHO) instead.
  • We recommend putting your reporting plan in for 1 full year after you finish your Annual Survey. The video below will show you how to enter your reporting plans, you can do multiple months at one sitting, or you can add your reporting plan each month before entering your data. If you put in the full year at one sitting, then the missing data link will show up at the end of the reporting month.
  • Quick “How To” video: How to Enter a Reporting Plan into NHSN
  • We highly encourage you to enter your data monthly. This allows better tracking of your data and will keep your records more in real time.
  • Currently, CMS and the HQIC program require hospitals to enter data into the NHSN portal for:
    • CLABSI
    • CAUTI
    • C-diff
    • MRSA
    • CRE
  • Quick “How To” video: How to Enter Monthly Data into NHSN
  • If you think you have a CAUTI, CLABSI or C-diff event, the video below gives one example of how to enter this data into NHSN. However, if you are not sure if it qualifies as a true event, we recommend you:
    • Contact your SDAHO consultant for additional support.
    • Email NHSN for clarification.
      • To email NHSN on CAUTI Clarification: FAQs: UTI Events Scroll to bottom of the page and follow directions under Q23.  Most hospitals are hearing back in about 2 weeks.
      • To email NHSN on CLABSI Clarification: FAQs: BSI events Scroll to bottom of the page and follow direction under Q31.  Most hospitals are hearing back in about 2 weeks.
    • Quick “How To” video: How to Enter an Event into NHSN
Additional CAUTI education: Additional CLABSI education:
  • BSI Training . This link has multiple videos and slides on CLABSI education.  Here are some of the most common:
    • Self-paced Training – CLABSI training
    • Quick Learns – Denominator Device Day and Central Line Day Counts for Device Attribution
    • Quick Learns – Secondary Bloodstream infections.
    • Quick Learns – BSI Definition changes.
  • FAQs: Bloodstream Infections (BSI) Events
  • Your annual survey will need to be completed each year by March 1. You will be entering data for the previous year.  For example, in 2023, by March 1 you need to have your 2022 annual report finished. NHSN will not allow you to put in more reporting plans after March of 2023 until your annual survey questions are completed.
  • Quick “How To” video: How to Enter your Annual Survey into NHSN
  1. Log into Compass Portal:  https://compassdataportal.ihconline.org/Account/Login
  2. Click on “Report” on the left side of the screen and select “Run Charts” or “Dashboard” from the drop-down menu, depending on the type of report you would like to run
  3. Enter the start and end date for the time frame you are interested in
  4. Select the Focus Area specific to data you enter into NHSN
  5. Select the Measures specific to the focus area
  6. Click “Generate Report” button at the top of the screen
*NHSN data in the Compass Portal is updated around the 10th of every month
Opioid Stewardship

Opioid Stewardship is a growing issue in South Dakota. The quality staff across the state is monitoring opioid use each month with quality data measures within our HQIC program. To see more specific data on this program, see the HQIC button on this page.

The South Dakota Department of Health developed an ED toolkit program to be used in response to ED patients who present with substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, and non-fatal drug overdose. This has now expanded to clinics.

Click here to see the Avoid Opioid Website. This site has a significant amount of information including resources, information on Medicated Assisted Treatment, treatment, and much more. Our quality team works closely on this grant by educating hospitals on the resources in South Dakota.

The ED toolkit is an interactive guide for providers and hospital administrators. It provides strategies to incorporate best practices for screening and diagnosis, referral to treatment, safe prescribing, and community resources in various healthcare and non-healthcare settings. Its content was developed with considerations for rural and urban hospitals. It is titled ED Provider Toolkit, but the resources are applicable for all locations.
  • Provider letter from the DEA: Click Here
  • Which groups are accredited to provide training?
    • The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
    • The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP)
    • American Medical Association (AMA)
    • The American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
    • The American Dental Association (ADA)
    • The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS)
    • The American Psychiatric Association (APA)
    • The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
    • The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA)
    • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
    • Any other organization accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical
    • Education (AACCME) or the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition
    • (CCEPR), whether directly or through an organization accredited by a State medical society that is recognized by the ACCME or CCEPR
    • Any other organization approved or accredited by the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, the ACCME, or the CCEP
  • Training Course Option:
The Avoid Opioid SD website has multiple screening tools including COWS, SOPP-R, and the NIDA Quick Screen. Click here to get direct access to the Opioid Toolkit on the website.
  • Click here to see the COWS assessment
  • Click here to see the SOPP-R assessment
  • Click here to see the NIDA Quick Screen assessment
What is motivational interviewing? It is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change.
    • Here is a motivational interviewing role play script
      • Motivational Interviewing has 4 components with algorism of OARS: Click here for an explanation of each section.
    • Click here for an excellent document explaining motivational interviewing
This continues to be a huge issue with patients who struggle with opioid use disease. Our consultants address stigma when presenting at hospitals.  Please contact us to discuss educational opportunities on stigma.
  • Click here for an article titled “New Study on Stigmatizing Imagery for Substance Use Disorder Released”.
  • Click here for a poster on using Compassionate Substance Use Disorder language.
  • Click here to watch the recording of Stigma: A Personal Testimony from Megan Cantone.
What is it? It is a FREE, web-based tool that provides near real-time surveillance (within 24 hours) of suspected overdose events to support public safety and public health efforts to mobilize an immediate response to overdose events. In South Dakota, Emergency Medical Services reports are automatically uploaded into ODMAP after responding to a suspected event.
  • ODMAP features cross jurisdiction suspected event information, overdose alerts, internal heat maps, filters, charts, and multiple agencies providing data for areas that capture more information for suspected overdose events.
  • Contact Matt Tribble, MPH, Public Health Analyst with the Overdose Response Strategy.
  • Click here to Register on the ODMAP website.
  • South Dakota Resources for Substance Use Disorders
    • This document provides a compilation of resources to support the patient and family affected by substance use disorder. This resource listing can be used by staff for referral of patients/families or by patients/families themselves.
  • Order FREE Opioid-Related Print Materials here
  • Stigma: A Personal Testimony from Megan Cantone | Recording
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Q & A with Dr. Tinguely (Feb 1) | Recording
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Q & A with Dr. Tinguely (Feb 6) | Recording
  • SDAHO Soundbites Podcast: Lack of Euphoria with use of Buprenorphine Dr. Jennifer Tinguely | Click here
  • SDAHO Soundbites Podcast: Access to MAT Medications with Dr. Jennifer Tinguely | Click here
  • SDAHO Soundbites Podcast: Dosing and Weaning off Opioids Safely Dr. Jennifer Tinguely | Click here
Rural Health Network Development Program Grant

SDAHO Healthcare Research Education and Trust was awarded the four-year grant beginning July 1, 2023-June 30, 2027. The goal of this project is to improve access to healthcare services in rural South Dakota by developing an all-inclusive pipeline of essential workers.  The targeted audience to fill these healthcare essential support staff by targeting 1)rural and ethnic and racial minorities, refugees 2) second career adults 3) high school students.  The project will create a network of healthcare organizations and community partners called South Dakota Rural Workforce Network (SDRWN). The SDRWN includes a variety of healthcare and non-healthcare organizations that have a commitment to seeing rural South Dakota communities thrive. The SDRWN includes critical access hospitals, nursing home, a technology school, post-secondary university, and a nonprofit social services organization across rural South Dakota. This project is led by SDAHO Workforce Development Coordinator Lindsay Stroman.  If you have questions about this project, please contact Lindsay at Lindsay.Stroman@sdaho.org or 605 789-7537.

Many health care professionals have left the field over the past two years leaving the remaining healthcare staff to pick up extra shifts, work longer days and absorb additional tasks. But there is a solution to this growing problem and this project will outline a plan to attract and train a new pool of workers in rural healthcare markets. The purpose of the project is to improve access to healthcare services in rural South Dakota by developing an all-inclusive pipeline of healthcare essential workers. For this project, healthcare essential workers are defined as a group of entry level jobs that provide support to healthcare professionals to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare services. Common job titles include but are not limited to nursing assistants, phlebotomists, home health aides, housekeepers, food prepares and medical assistants.

Did you know?
  • The project supports legislative aim (i) Achieve Efficiencies by creating an adequate supply of entry level healthcare workers so that nurses and other healthcare professionals, may work at the highest level of their license instead of delivering patient trays, wiping down equipment and distributing patient satisfaction surveys.
  • The project supports legislative aim (ii) Expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of basic health care services and associated health outcomes by having sufficient staffing to ensure that basic health care needs of patients and their families are met.
  • Lastly, the project supports the legislative aim (iii) strengthen the rural health care system by lessening the staff burnout and fatigue. The project will provide for an adequate staffing to ensure the highest level of care and patient safety is delivered every time.

The project aligns with the RHND four program domains by improving access by addressing workforce shortages, expanding capacity and services by educating and training entry level healthcare workers. Patients will experience enhanced outcomes such as decreased infections due to properly cleaned patient rooms, reduced food contamination handling by having adequate and skilled staff managing these activities.

The project will create a network of healthcare organizations and community partners called South Dakota Rural Workforce Network (SDRWN).

To make this vision a reality, the SDRWN will use the grant funds to target rural ethnic and racial minorities, refugees, second career adults and high school students.

Rural Health Network Development Program (RHND) is to support integrated health care networks and collaborate to achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of basic health care services and associated health outcomes; and strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. More specifically, the program supports networks as they address gaps in service, enhance systems of care, and expand capacity of the local health care system.

SDRWN project is focused on four rural communities that are spread out across the state of South Dakota allowing for a vast representation of not only geographic spread but for diversification of the rural workforce and unique community challenges. The four communities were selected based on their population size, geographic location, ethical and racial diversity, and highest need for essential health care workers. The communities include:
  • Hot Spring, South Dakota which is located in Fall River County in the far western part of the state in the Black Hills National Forest. Hot Springs’ population is 3,395 and Fall River County is 6,973.
  • Huron, South Dakota with a population of 14,263, which is in Beadle County with a population of 19,149.
  • Irene, South Dakota with a population of 549 which is in Clay County with a population of 14,967.
  • Mobridge, South Dakota which is in Walworth County in the northern part of the state. Mobridge has a population of 3,303 and county population of 5,315.
The population data listed above is from the US Census Bureau 2020. Below is the Service Area Map showing the location of each Network Member organization.

SDRWN plans to implement activities such as English language support services for non-English or limited English speaking populations through collaboration and partnership with Lutheran Social Services to address the ongoing language barrier. Other network activities include access to entry level healthcare job training offered by Mitchell Technology College ranging from medical assistant, laboratory technology, and medical office professional. The University of South Dakota offers a healthcare exploratory course to assist students in identifying which healthcare career is the best fit based on their interests. SDRWN will extend its collaboration outside the network by partnering with local and regional non network members organization such as Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), South Dakota HOSA-Future Health Professionals and older adult organizations to attract from the pool of high school students and second career adults to enter the healthcare field.
Workforce shortage in healthcare has been exacerbated by the pandemic and staffing shortages are now the nation’s top patient safety concern, forcing Americans to endure longer wait times when seeking care or to be turned away entirely, according to ECRI, a nonprofit patient safety organization. SDAHO has made the workforce crisis our number one priority in helping our members address the gaps in care and identify ways to grow our pipeline of essential healthcare workers. The network development grant will help us bring our concept on how to expand capacity to reality by giving us the resources to strengthen our rural healthcare system as a whole and create a replicable, sustainable model for others. SDAHO will manage this four-year network development project utilizing the five phases of project management which include conception and initiation, project planning, project execution, performance/monitoring and project close. In a state where we have less than 6 people per square mile, it requires innovative thinking and collaboration with our systems of care to grow our pipeline of healthcare workers. This project will focus on one overarching goal: To improve access to health care services in rural South Dakota by developing an all-inclusive pipeline of health care essential workers. Our goal will be accomplished by achieving 7 key objectives in 4 years: Each objective will have a strategy, list of activities, performance measure, timeline and responsible party.
  1. Formalize the South Dakota Rural Workforce Network (SDRWN) – Year 1
  2. Formalize the SDRWN Governance Board, Program Charter & By-Laws – Year 1
  3. Develop Strategic Plan – Year 2
  4. Target ethnic and racial minorities, refugees, second career adults and high school student populations for employment in health care essential support staff positions. - Year 2-4
  5. Develop communication tools to attract targeted populations for employment in healthcare essential support staff roles. Year 3-4
  6. Implement sustainability plan throughout the period of performance and beyond. Year 4
  7. Successfully manage the federal award. Year 1-4

The expected program outcomes and community impact include a stable pipeline of essential healthcare workers to serve the rural healthcare facilities throughout rural South Dakota and improved economic stability in those communities where these essential healthcare workers reside. Other expected program outcomes include a more skilled healthcare workforce resulting in improved patient outcomes and patient safety measures.

Mobridge Regional Hospital (MRH) is a rural, community owned, twenty-five bed Critical Access Hospital in north central South Dakota and owns and operates a rural health clinic (RHC) within the city of Mobridge as well as the communities of Selby, Timber Lake, and McLaughlin. MRH has a great deal of experience serving and working with underserved populations. Due to MRH diverse population, they bring a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities that exist to attract health care essential support staff.
Fall River Health Services (FRHS) is a is an integrated, independent, rural critical access hospital and owns a rural health clinic and a long-term care center located in Hot Springs, SD. Because of the unique geographic location and impact this has on the population served, FRHS brings to the network a west river perspective that would not be evident otherwise.
Huron Regional Medical Center which is a 25-bed critical access hospital and has extensive work in immigrating new Americans resulting in 25% of the adult population from a non-English speaking country. HRMC will bring a wealth of expertise on applied programs to the network and will serve as a guide in reaching the non-English speaking populations.
Sunset Manor is a 58 skilled nursing bed facility with almost 98% Medicaid residents. Sunset Manor is unique because it offers two specialty units, challenging behavior, and manages the only state residential traumatic brain injury unit.
University of South Dakota (USD) School of Health Sciences (SHS) is home to the only comprehensive health sciences school and medical school in the state. USD offers a variety of health care degrees and certificates and regularly provides outreach and clinical practicums throughout the state, including network members. Because of this diverse background in health services, USD is well situated to provide an overview of healthcare career pathways course which will be valuable in attracting the targeted audiences to health care essential support staff roles.
Michell Technology College (MTC) is a two-year public post-secondary institution and offers a variety of medical field programs. MTC will aid in the curriculum development, templates for a standardized, replicable education program to assist network members, educate partners on available scholarship programs, and visit with students on pathways to medical careers.
Lutheran Social Services (LSS) is a statewide social ministry organization and has experience working with immigrants, refugees, and other vulnerable populations. LSS participates in a wide variety of partnerships across the state, including universities, to strengthen rural communities. SDRWN will leverage LSS expertise with working with diverse populations and offer customized vocational English language courses to targeted populations.

This Project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,150,097 with 0% percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.