South Dakota’s Department of Social Services (DSS) is working with Avera Behavioral Health to provide support for patients affected by the tornado damage in Sioux Falls, on Sept. 10.

Avera Behavioral Health will be using two adult acute units and will begin using an adolescent unit at Human Services Center (HSC) in Yankton.

Space at the HSC will allow up to 30 beds for adult and 20 beds for adolescent psychiatric care. Pediatric and adolescent patients are currently being treated in a subset of the pediatric unit at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls.

“This collaboration is allowing two agencies – Avera and HSC – to come together to meet the behavioral health needs of our state and region,” said Bob Sutton, President and CEO of Avera Health Services. “We are grateful for the state’s collaboration. This is an innovative way to utilize existing resources to meet the needs of our residents.”

Patients were transferred to HSC on Sept. 11. Avera Behavioral Health staff are on-site providing services and operating from the HSC units. Avera is also providing all medications and lab services needed in order to care for patients. Avera will continue to provide their services to patients at HSC until the building in Sioux Falls has been repaired and is determined safe to reopen.

“My team has been in full swing since Wednesday morning working with Avera,” said DSS Secretary Laurie Gill. “This is a great example of a public/private collaboration to ensure support and services are uninterrupted and continuous for South Dakotans.”

Both facilities have been working closely and providing updates to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure the health and safety of the patients impacted.

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