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  1. Despite a 2020 law restricting cell phone use by drivers, and numerous public-information campaigns, distracted driving remains a significant cause of injuries and deaths in car crashes in South Dakota and across the United States. Police officers continue to crack down on the risky behaviors, but a new outreach effort will use a multi-pronged approach to try to keep people focused on the road ahead.
  2. The highly contagious virus known as RSV is spreading fast among children in South Dakota and across the U.S., raising concerns among medical officials that a more virulent strain of the virus is striking earlier in the year than usual and may sicken large numbers of children and eventually overwhelm pediatric intensive care units in hospitals.
  3. The new investment of $350 million into a Virtual Health Initiative by Sanford Health of Sioux Falls comes at time that experts say the potential has never been higher for the expanded use and revenue generation of telemedicine. Sanford and other healthcare groups saw a major spike in use of telemedicine services during the COVID-19 pandemic that many expect will continue well into the future.
  4. Now that Congress has passed legislation to provide healthcare to veterans who were sickened by exposure to toxic burn pits, the real battle begins for veterans needing care who must navigate the sometimes cumbersome, over-extended VA healthcare system.
  5. The latest variant of COVID-19 -- which is more able to evade immunity from prior infection or vaccination than previous variants -- is causing infection rates to rise in South Dakota and across the country even though it appears less likely to put patients in the hospital. Unless COVID-19 cases jump dramatically, officials in South Dakota government, health care and education do not appear poised to pursue any active interventions at this time.
  6. Two separate November 2022 ballot measures will ask South Dakota voters to approve expansion of the federal Medicaid health insurance plan in the state. Some advocates of expansion are concerned the two measures with generally the same intent could confuse voters and hamper the chances of expanding Medicaid, which could provide medical coverage to about 40,000 more low-income South Dakota residents.
  7. As healthcare providers and abortion advocates begin to consider that Roe v Wade could be overturned, they're increasingly concerned that terminating a pregnancy will be harder than ever for Native women in South Dakota who already face significant logistical barriers to reproductive services.
  8. The long-range staffing crisis within South Dakota nursing homes is playing out with devastating consequences in Ipswich, S.D., where the town's only nursing home will soon close and an inspection from 2021 revealed serious deficiencies in how residents were cared for and treated.
  9. An Iraq War veteran from Webster, S.D., is suffering from tremors and anxiety after returning home from service abroad where he was exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits, but so far, he has been unable to receive disability or medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  10. Anger and violence toward healthcare workers has been a concern for years, but the frequency of inappropriate behavior has risen significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless tensions ease, experts worry that individual patient care will suffer and that the industry may see even greater worker shortages as healthcare workers continue to suffer burnout.
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