PIERRE, S.D.(KCCR)- The South Dakota Department of Health has withdrawn a proposed rule change that could have led to significant increases in the costs needed to keep ambulance service in rural parts of South Dakota. The proposed change would have allowed ground-ambulances associated with air ambulance services to transport patients between medical facilities.
Hughes County Commissioner Randy Brown says representatives of other ambulance services attended the October 3rd public hearing and testified against the proposed rule change. Non-emergency transports make up the majority of American Medical Response’s revenue in central South Dakota. Fort Pierre Mayor Gloria Hanson says A-M-R has made major improvements in it’s quality of care.
Had the rule been moved forward it would have added to the costs Pierre, Fort Pierre, Hughes and Stanley Counties would have had to pay to keep A-M-R in the area.
Counties are under no constitutional obligation to provide an ambulance service to their areas. Voters in 2022 technically approved an ambulance district in the Pierre/Fort Pierre area on a 71 to 29-percent margin but effort was stopped after ballots had been printed.