Committee Votes to Designate Access Critical Nursing Homes
By Jenifer Jones
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed a bill that aims to ensure South Dakotans have access to nursing home care within a reasonable distance. Senate Bill 140 addresses some recommendations of the state's long term care study completed in 2007. It requires the Department of Social Services to designate access critical nursing facilities annually as part of the Medicaid rate setting process. Senator Jean Hunhoff is a sponsor of the bill.
"When we address nursing home beds we look at the rural and frontier geography, and we're also looking at sparse populations," Hunhoff says. "And sometimes that requires us to give special consideration to ensure that people have reasonable access to nursing home care across the state. This is vitally important so that all people needing nursing homes can't be forced to relocate so far from home and families that it would be prohibitive for travel, especially on long distances to visit their loved ones."
The Department of Social Services will designate access critical nursing facilities if, among other things, no other nursing facility is located within twenty miles and the nursing facility is integrated with other healthcare services.
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