Governor Kristi Noem introduces legislation to make healthcare changes permanent

Governor Noem originally put into place these flexibilities to help in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is now looking to make them permanent.
Gov. Kristi Noem
Gov. Kristi Noem(South Dakota Government)
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 5:26 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - Governor Kristi Noem announced Wednesday that she will introduce two pieces of legislation to codify executive orders that originally provided flexibility to healthcare providers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two pieces of legislation cover telehealth and recognition of out-of-state healthcare licenses.

The bills would be an extension of Executive Order 2020-07 and Executive Order 2020-16.

“COVID-19 challenged us in new, unforeseen ways, and those challenges provided us an opportunity to adapt and find innovative ways to deliver healthcare in South Dakota,” said Noem. “The flexibilities that we put in place in response to the pandemic have worked, with no concerns regarding their implementation. We will continue to strengthen South Dakota healthcare by welcoming these successes, building on them, and leaving flexibility for even more innovation into the future.”

Noem’s telehealth bill would make certain telehealth flexibilities permanent. Noem expressed her desire to expand and make permanent telehealth access in her State of the State address earlier this month.

“We greatly expanded telehealth in 2020. Since March, people have used tech services like these more than 70,000 times in South Dakota’s Medicaid program alone,” continued Noem. “In 2021, we will build on telehealth advancements and continue to find ways to remove government red tape in healthcare.”

The license recognition bill would make permanent the recognition of certain out-of-state healthcare licenses.

“Workforce is one of the major challenges facing South Dakota healthcare,” Noem said. “Americans from around the country continue moving to South Dakota, we can (continue to) address workforce shortages by recognizing the good work that they did in other states and welcoming them to continue their work by serving South Dakotans.”