State awards $227,000 to 19 rural hospitals

PIERRE – Nineteen rural hospitals in South Dakota will receive a total of $227,409 in federal funding for projects to improve patient safety and access, reduce medication errors, reduce hospital readmissions and improve operations.

Sanford Vermillion Medical Center in Vermillion will receive $14,646.

The federal Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program funding comes through the South Dakota Department of Health. Over the last 13 years, rural hospitals in South Dakota have received more than $4,356,000 in direct awards through the program.

Hospitals must be Medicare-certified as critical access to be eligible for the funds. Critical access hospitals receive a higher Medicare reimbursement rate and are eligible for federal funding for improvement projects. There are currently 38 critical access hospitals in South Dakota.

“This funding helps rural hospitals make direct, positive impacts on patient care and health outcomes,” said Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health. “It’s an important tool for critical access hospitals working so hard to maintain essential health care services in our rural areas.”

Hollingsworth noted that sustaining essential healthcare services in rural and underserved areas is a key objective of the department’s 2020 initiative.

Hospitals receiving Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program direct awards are listed below.

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