South Dakota 2021 Legislative Session: Week 6 Update

Posted on 02/18/21

With only a couple of weeks left in the SD legislative session, the action in the legislature will be fast and furious for the next few weeks!

On Tuesday, AARP South Dakota testified in favor of House Bill (HB) 1163 which revises some provisions related to Physician Assistants (PA).

  • Specifically, HB 1163 would authorize PAs with more than 1,040 hours of experience to practice without a specific relationship to a physician.  PAs are proven and trusted members of South Dakota's health care system. Many of us see PAs regularly and they are vital in supporting our rural communities in South Dakota.  Similar to the Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Anesthetists legislation AARP South Dakota has supported in previous years, HB 1163 would allow PAs to work to their full training and experience. This would mean an increase in access to high quality care for South Dakotans. 

    In addition to AARP South Dakota, HB 1163 received support from several PA groups, the SD Department of Health, Community Healthcare Association of the Dakotas and Americans for Prosperity but unfortunately, the bill was defeated on a 7-6 vote in the House and Health and Human Services committee. 

On Thursday, AARP South Dakota testified in favor of House Bill (HB) 1263 which is being brought by Governor Kristi Noem and will provide price transparency for health care costs.

  • AARP South Dakota supports HB 1263 because it requires insurance plans to disclose cost-sharing info both on-line and on paper.  The bill also empowers consumers by ensuring they have knowledge of the actual cost for procedures and prescription drugs, giving them the ability to see in-network and out-of-network rates for services, and providing real-time information on consumer’s cost sharing requirements.

    In addition to AARP South Dakota, HB 1263 received support from Governor Noem’s office, Avera Health, Americans for Prosperity and several insurance groups.  The bill passed 12-0 in the House Health and Human Services committee and now heads to the full House of Representatives for their consideration. 

Also on Thursday, AARP South Dakota testified again in favor of Senate Bill (SB) 96 which is being brought by Governor Noem and will revise certain provisions regarding the use of telehealth.  Read more about this legislation in our Week Four Update.

  • In addition to AARP South Dakota, SB 96 received support from Governor Noem’s office, Avera, Sanford, SD Community & Behavioral Health and many other healthcare groups.  The bill passed 12-0 in the House Health and Human Services committee and, after previously passing through the Senate, heads to the full House for consideration. 

Finally, the South Dakota Retirement System (SDRS) bills AARP South Dakota has been monitoring passed through the House of Representatives and Senate. HB 1030, HB 1031, HB 1032 and HB 1033 have been signed into law by Governor Noem. Read more about this legislation in our Week Two Update.

Especially in these unprecedented times, it's important that your legislators hear from you! Many legislative coffees (aka cracker barrels) are being streamed online so you can still participate in this open forum with your elected officials. Click here for a list of these events and please remember to take all recommended COVID safety precautions.

If you are not able to safely participate in a local conversation, consider calling or emailing your legislator directly!

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