Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cuts to SD help for elderly and disabled detailed in letter

I have a copy of a February 4th letter from four SD officials - Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Amy Iversen-Pollreisz, Doneen Hollingsworth and Pam Roberts, the Secretaries of the Dpts. of Social Services, Human Services, Health and Labor, respectively. They are responding to questions from Shelly Pfaff, Executive Director of SD Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities.

The Secretaries spell out programs which face cuts or elimination under the Governor's recommended budget. For about another month, the Legislature will be in session so there is still time to work for changes.

The details are below - first a couple of important thoughts about what to do with them.

As many Christians heard in our churches last Sunday,

...if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.

God's concern for the afflicted is a constant in Scripture, and so our hearts should be open to those in need and our minds active with ways to satisfy them.

The New Testament is also specific about prayer for those in public authority, so do pray for all in our state government who are grappling with a budget deficit. Pray especially before flaming at anybody. This is not an evasion of action. As venerable Christian civil rights and justice advocate John M. Perkins says, "Prayer is not a substitution for action; rather, prayer is a preparation for an action through which God will use us." Seek wisdom and a right heart before flailing away.


10% reduction of Medicaid reimbursement to hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers.

10% reduction of Medicaid to nursing homes/assisted living facilities. As was pointed out at last Saturday's Legislative Coffee in Sioux Falls, this not only challenges the level of care available to seniors, but in small towns where such facilities are the largest employer this will mean lost jobs and the attendant economic strain on those communities.

5% cuts in Medicaid payments to pharmacies, senior meal programs, and long term care in home services.

10% reduction for community mental health, substance abuse services and residential treatment for youth.

Elimination of food sales tax refund program, graduate medical ed. program.

Reduced funding for methamphetamine treatment services, senior companion/caregiver support groups, child care quality initiatives, child care subsidy payments, Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) and employment/training program.


10% rate reduction for community support providers

5% reduction for personal attendant care services for quadriplegics

Elimination of autism grant for USD Center for Disabilities to consult with children and adults with autism

Elimination of funding to educate/train professionals working in community support

Elimination of optional traumatic brain injury (TBI) Medicaid-funded services

Reductions to vocational rehab and independent living budgets, including programs for the blind


Discontinue latent TB reporting and follow up for low risk patients

Discontinue lab testing for mycology and non-TB mycobacteria


SNAP work program provided in fewer counties, although benefits will not be reduced. Recipients in certain counties will no longer be required to complete community service, job training, job search or work requirements to receive benefits

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