Reservation Nursing Home Bill Passes in State House 02/25/10 (audio)
By Eryn Clement
The State House passed a bill that allows the construction of a nursing home on a reservation in the Southwestern part of the state. South Dakota has had a ban on new nursing homes for more than twenty years. The approved senate bill allows for an exception to this moritorium.
Right now many elderly residents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation must go to Rapid City or other distant towns if they wish to be placed in a nursing home. Senate bill 157 alleviates the long drive for the elderly and their families by constructing a nursing home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Lawmakers in opposition of the bill say it’s a big project to consider and a road they currently don’t want to go down. Representative Carol Pitts sponsored the bill. She says the facility will not only benefit those utilizing it but the community as whole.
“I can only tell you after working in the Pine Ridge area at the dialysis unit that having a local facility to be able to visit your grandmother, your grandfather or anyone that needs long-term care it will be a huge asset to that community,” says Pitts.
The bill passed with a 60 to 10 vote and was approved earlier by the Senate. It will become law if signed by Governor Mike Rounds.
Member stations can download the audio file here.