As a part of the 2017 legislative session, South Dakota lawmakers are considering a number of bills affecting the health care industry in the state. Senate Bill 49 is one Bill the Health Care Group is monitoring that will affect the regulation of independent emergency health care providers in the State. The Bill seeks to amend current South Dakota law to include a ‘free standing emergency medical care facility’ under the same definition of ‘health care facility’. A freestanding emergency medical care facility is defined in the Bill as any facility structurally separate and distinct from a hospital that directly receives a person and provides emergency medical care. By including these freestanding facilities within the general definition of ‘health care facility’, independent emergency departments are brought under the guise of South Dakota’s statutory and regulatory scheme governing hospitals and related institutions. It is worth mentioning that the Bill exempts those freestanding facilities that are certified as a department of a hospital.
On January 25, the Bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34 to 1. On January 26, the Bill was first read in the House and was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee. Stay tuned as this Bill makes its way through the legislature.