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2011 Health Bills In Front Of Lawmakers Today

January 11, 2011, 7:15 PM by Kelli Grant

2011 Health Bills In Front Of Lawmakers Today
SIOUX FALLS, SD - In just the first day of the 2011 Legislative Session, several bills have already made their way in front of lawmakers.

Among them is legislation that could affect your health.

When it comes to your health, the big player this session will be the state Medicaid Program.

"Medicaid consumes a huge portion of the South Dakota budget and our budget is in difficult straights right now," Cindy Morrison, Sanford VP of Public Policy said.

Cindy Morrison, Sanford Health Vice President of Public Policy, says we could see legislation this session designed to revamp the state's Medicaid program making it leaner to save money.

“Providers have not seen an increase in Medicaid reimbursement for the last two years and now we're talking about a cut and some of the rumors out there are that the cut will be even deeper than what's being proposed,” Morrison said.

And a cut could leave providers to make a difficult decision of whether they can afford to take Medicaid patients in order to keep up with the costs of running their business.

One bill that, not just health care providers, but parents will likely keep an eye on is concussion legislation.

“The whole idea behind the legislation is to take the kids out once you suspect a concussion to stop them from getting a second hit too soon and to make sure they get the medical care they need,” Morrison said.

Morrison says the bill will include three components:

Educating coaches, parents and players, knowing when it's time to take athletes out of the game and making sure they're evaluated before they return to play.

Morrison says we'll see some repeat health-related bills this session, such as lay midwifery legislation.

And she notes that even if it has nothing to do with your health, health care providers are still keeping their eye on dozens of bills.

“Healthcare isn't just necessarily hands on patient care. It might be infrastructure, operations of some kind. It might be construction,” Morrison said.

And since health care systems are also large employers, Morrison said they'll pay attention to any legislation that affects the state's workforce.

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