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Taking Care of People

South Dakota is in the middle of a healthcare boom. While the strain of the pandemic has challenged this industry across the country, our state has remained resilient.  

A new study from WalletHub ranked South Dakota the No. 1 best state for doctors to work in. Last year, that same firm ranked our state in the Top 10 for work environment for nurses. 

South Dakota must continue to raise the bar for other healthcare workers.We can do that by meeting the needs of the industry. Last fall, I joined our state’s largest healthcare providers in recruiting nurses to move to our state. But we also need to generate home-grown talent. 

This session I fought for funding to expand healthcare programs at our colleges and universities. Today, I joined Southeast Technical College in celebrating its forthcoming Health Sciences Clinical Simulation Center. The state is providing the funding for cutting-edge simulation equipment and learning laboratories to support the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN), Registered Nursing (RN), Sonography, and Surgical Technologist programs. 

We are also expandingour accelerated nursing program through a partnership with South Dakota State University and Northern State University. Strengthening this career pipeline will help us ensure we provide opportunities for our children and grandchildren to succeed in this field. But South Dakotans also need better healthcare today. 

That’s why I supported purchasingcutting edge equipment for EMTs. This new technology will save lives. We’re expanding telehealth capabilities to allow EMTs to connect patients with doctors and deliver that care faster. 

In the last three years, our state has made great strides to increase access to healthcare. We created a robust telehealth system. We recognized licenses for out-of-state healthcare professionals moving to South Dakota. We guaranteed transparent prices for South Dakotans when dealing with their insurance companies.We launched a successful campaign to increase awareness of available substance use disorder treatment.  

And thanks to $15 million in federal funding, South Dakota will soon be one step closer to expanding Appropriate Regional Facilities to each of five regions where people experiencing mental health crisis can get the short-term care they need. Our state is leading the way. We want to help people get the care they need at a place that is close to home. In the process, we will prevent our jails from becoming mental health holding centers. 

On March 18th, I signed into law several bills focused on taking care of people in South Dakota. These bills range from strengthening our fight against opioid addiction to prohibiting discrimination in organ transplants. The state is helping Lyman County to build a new nursing facility,and we are constructinga new state public health lab to support our state’s healthcare industry. 

Together, we will raise the bar and set a new standard of healthcare in South Dakota.