Health & Human Services Committee


As a newcomer to the Health and Human Services committee, there are a number of areas where I need to do extra homework. It seems a little daunting for someone who has spent the last eight years working on transportation and taxation issues. 

In the first part of session, we heard from three state agencies that have a combined budget of $1.7 billion, or about one-third of all state ongoing spending.

The Department of Human Services is responsible for helping South Dakotans who have developmental disabilities, are blind or visually impaired, or need rehabilitation services.  This agency is also responsible for the SD Developmental Center (SDDC) in Redfield, which provides comprehensive services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities when needed services are not available in a community setting.

The SDDC was established by the state legislature in 1899 and opened in February 1902 as the Northern Hospital for the Insane. In 1913, the name was changed to State School and Home for the Feeble Minded; in 1951 it became known as The Redfield State Hospital and School.  The facility had an all-time population of 1,199 people in 1963, when the campus had 11 large buildings.  Today the SDDC serves about 100 people.  Among this year’s requests for one-time spending is $794,645 in general funds to demolish a vacant building on the SDCC campus.   

The Department of Social Services deals with Medicaid, child protection services, economic assistance, and behavioral health including suicide prevention and substance abuse prevention. 

The Department of Health is responsible for public health concerns, food and lodging safety, family and child development, healthcare licensing, vital records, and health data statistics.  For nearly a year now the Department of Health has been in the forefront in providing information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor has proposed putting $50 million of one-time dollars into the South Dakota Health Care Trust Fund. This was established by a constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 2001 to be used for health care related programs.  At the end of Fiscal Year 2020, the fund had a balance of nearly $143 million.

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me at

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