RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Candidate for Governor, Billie Sutton was in Rapid City on Wednesday to discuss the future of health care in South Dakota.
The round table discussion at the Dahl Fine Arts Center focused on issues like the mental health care facilities in West River, Medicaid, and the problems with Indian Health Services (IHS).
Sutton says he wants to encourage tuition reimbursement for doctors and nurses, reform the Medicaid to maximize federal dollars, and expand tele-health programs to reach more rural communities. He points to problems with addiction as an area the state can improve on.
"We are seeing people that are abusing meth in a bad way that is affecting all of South Dakota," Sutton said. "It's affecting our law enforcement. It's affecting our schools. It's affecting our prison population and we can no longer ignore it. We have to take action."
However, it's general access to care that he thinks really needs to be addressed and he says tele-health is the way to do it.
"It's very important in rural communities because you might not have access to a health care professional in some instances, whether that's a doctor or a even a nurse practitioner," Sutton said. "I think it's important to have that opportunity as we are a very rural state, but you have to have the infrastructure in able to do that."
Sutton also talked about IHS, saying the biggest problem is a lack of funding. He says reorganizing Medicaid would help relieve some of those problems.