The South Dakota Health Care Association (SDHCA) strongly urges legislators to commit additional resources to adequately fund Long Term Care in South Dakota this legislative session. In a recent poll of South Dakotans, 82% agreed that lawmakers must ensure Long Term Care has the necessary resources to care for the state’s elderly and disabled.
“Nursing Centers in our state cannot continue to provide the quality of care we expect for our loved ones without improved funding,” said Mark B. Deak, SDHCA Executive Director. “Centers have been inadequately funded for many years, and it is critical that we change course before lack of resources causes lasting damage.”
Medicaid reimbursement for Nursing Centers is currently set at such a low level that Centers lose an average of $32.24 each day for each resident paying through Medicaid. A significant majority (57%) of the total resident population in Nursing Centers relies on Medicaid to pay for their care. This disparity fuels staffing challenges, including difficulty hiring caregivers and high turnover among Nursing Center staff.
In addition, in the last year and a half, Nursing Centers in Rosholt and Bryant have closed, and the Nursing Center in Tripp is scheduled for closure in March. Inadequate reimbursement is a primary driver of the closures. If additional funding is not secured, more closures will almost certainly occur.
Recently revised state budget projections show legislators have additional funding to allocate for the coming fiscal year above what was originally believed. “As the legislature determines how to disburse these funds, caring for our elderly and disabled loved ones should be a top priority,” continued Deak. “We respectfully ask lawmakers in the strongest possible terms to support Nursing Centers, caregivers, and the elderly and disabled South Dakotans who are served there.”