South Dakota Makes Permanent A Ban On New Nursing Homes
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 29, 2005
PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA--A 1988 ban on new nursing homes in South Dakota has led to a huge increase in the number of assisted living facilities, the Associated Press reported Monday.
At the end of last year, there were 3,378 assisted living beds, compared with just 280 in 1988, according to the South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations.
Over the same time period, the number of nursing home residents has continued to decline.
Last month, the South Dakota Legislature approved a measure to make permanent that temporary ban on new nursing home beds across the state.
Those supporting the bill cited the impact that the high cost of nursing homes has had on the state's Medicaid spending, along with an increased emphasis on community alternatives to long-term care.
South Dakota's nine Native American tribes objected to the ban, arguing that they should be allowed to build nursing homes on their reservations. They claimed that many Lakota and Sioux need skilled nursing care, but refuse to move to nursing homes off the reservations and away from their families.
An exception to the 1988 ban was given two years ago for a new nursing home in Eagle Butte. The project is expected to break ground before June 30.
"Ban on new nursing homes increases use of alternatives" (Aberdeen American News)
"Moratorium on new nursing homes hits many Indians hard" (Rapid City Journal)