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Gov. Noem addresses care reimbursements

On Wednesday, Jan. 23, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem delivered her 2019 budget address to the legislature.
As promised, in Noem’s plan there were increases in state aid to education, Medicaid providers and to state employees.
Former Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s budget delivered to the legislature in December included 2.3 percent raises in those funding areas. The increase in Noem’s budget follows her promise to make these areas a priority of her administration.
Addressing the issue of under-reimbursment to healthcare facilities with the additional increase for Medicaid providers, Noem’s budget also includes innovation grants for nursing homes and primary and prenatal care centers. The grants, $5 million for nursing homes and centers, seek to find solutions to problems such as workforce development and labor shortages.
One million dollars of the grant will be used to “ incentivize innovation in that field,” Noem said. “There are families and communities that are asking to keep their loved ones at home with them longer.”
Noem’s budget also includes a combination of one-time money and ongoing funding to confront the methamphetamine epidemic. The $4.6 million would include funding for a meth media campaign and school-based meth education.
Noem’s budget for fiscal year 2020 includes almost $1.7 billion in general funds, $1.7 billion in federal funds and $1.4 billion in other funds. The budget includes about $54 million in new on-going spending.
Noem stressed the prudence of the plan signaled caution with regard to using new revenue expected from the expanded collection of online sales taxes. While indicating support for a proposal to use that money to reduce the state sales tax rate, Noem told lawmakers to remain hands off until the true size of the online windfall is known.
Much of the additional spending that Noem proposes would be funded by cuts to the state’s Department of Social Services. She explained that fewer people are using Social Services programs.
– Katie Zerr –