DSS awards $1 million for primary and prenatal care

PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – Governor Kristi Noem today announced that the Department of Social Services (DSS) has awarded $1 million of innovation grants to improve primary and prenatal care for women in the Medicaid program.

Noem’s budget included $1 million in funding available up to three years. Providers receiving awards of $333,000 are Native Women’s Health Care, Avera Health, and Center for Family Medicine.

“It’s incredibly important for expecting moms to get the care they need during their pregnancy,” said Noem. “We need to find new ways to support access to primary and prenatal care across South Dakota – especially in remote or rural areas. The sooner people get the care they need, the less likely they are to need more intensive interventions or higher cost services later. Technology and other innovative approaches to providing this type of care are critical to ensuring prenatal and primary care are available throughout the state.”

An average of 116,000 South Dakotans rely on Medicaid for their healthcare each month. The vast majority, 68 percent, are children. Half of the children born in South Dakota each year will be on Medicaid during their first year of life.

“Navigation assistance for patients and case management correlation will allow for better care and services,” said Stanley LaRoque, MSW, LAC, CS, Director of OST-Native Health Program. “Better health is possible by early detection, preventative care, and counseling, all at lower cost by providing quality services before a health issue develops into a chronic condition.”

This funding will help providers implement innovative technology to increase access to needed care.

“Through this program, Center for Family Medicine will expand access to a network of peer supports within the community and develop a robust video curriculum that ensures patients receive the best education throughout their pregnancy and maintain their connection to their care providers,” said Jennifer Ball, a Clinical Pharmacist at the Center for Family Medicine.

The funds will support projects to test new ways that use technology to manage gestational diabetes, integrate primary care and behavioral health, and implement comprehensive care models to support pregnant women. The grants take evidence-based approaches and will test ideas aimed at improving health outcomes and lowering costs to the program.

“Avera Health is pleased to receive this grant from the state to continue improving the health of both mothers and babies when gestational diabetes occurs, said Angie McCain, RN Director of Women’s Services at Avera Queen of Peace. “Using virtual technology and linkages with Indian Health Service, we expect to see marked improvement in the health of mothers and babies into the future.”

“These projects will allow us to take a fresh, new perspective with the potential to impact the health of children and families in South Dakota that rely on Medicaid for their healthcare,” said DSS Secretary Laurie Gill.

Providers receiving funding will be required to submit evidence of clinical outcomes, sustainability, and cost effectiveness. Successful approaches will be considered for replication across the program.