Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today issued a statement following the Senate Appropriations Committee's passage of the Fiscal Year 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, which included several requests Senator Thune had made on behalf of various South Dakota institutions:

"Providing health care in a primarily rural state poses some unique challenges. Some parts of South Dakota can be at times underserved, so it is important for policymakers to understand local concerns in addressing issues facing rural health care. The funding requests I have made in this bill seek to improve the quality of care for all South Dakotans."

Of Senator Thune's funding requests for South Dakota programs in the FY 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, the following were approved in today's Full Committee markup:

  • $300,000 for South Dakota State University's Health Sciences Initiative, for research on chronic disease prevention and treatment, particularly in rural, aging and Native American populations.

  • $200,000 for Community Health Care Association of the Dakotas, to support a mobile van that provides oral health care to underserved rural areas.

  • $200,000 for the Community Health Center of the Black Hills, to expand the facility to provide space for additional physicians, dentists, and equipment.

  • Senator Thune also secured the following requests on behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe:

  • $200,000 for suicide prevention services, which will be directed to youth services at the Wiconi Wakan Health and Healing Center.

  • $200,000 for substance abuse treatment programs.

  • The bill also includes $8 million for the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, which is an increase over FY 2008. Senator Thune has actively promoted increased telehealth funding as a way to improve patient care in rural areas while reducing health care costs.

    The bill must now be approved by the full Senate.