Access to Narcan at Union Gospel Mission Saves a Life 

A South Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 initiative to review infectious disease precautions at congregate living facilities brought together Stephanie Hanson, BSN, RN, program manager for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC), and Eric Weber, chief executive officer for the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) in Sioux Falls. The two never imagined their phone conversation would end up saving a life.  

Stephanie Hanson

Hanson shared, “During our conversation we addressed many topics related to COVID- 19, quarantine, and isolation. Because of my work with the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (GPQIN) on opioid abuse, I asked about access to Naloxone and told him how to get some at the local pharmacy.” 

Naloxone or Narcan is a medication used for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. A standing order makes the medication available through the pharmacy without a prescription.  It is an effective solution for reversing the impact of an opioid overdose and legal for anyone to have and use in an emergency.  

Weber acted on Hanson’s recommendation.  

“The day that I got it (Narcan) I was thinking, ‘I can keep it for an emergency’. The next morning, I used Narcan for the first time ever.  

I saw a guy laying in our back alley that was non-responsive. I tried to get the gentleman up by rubbing his chest and yelling and saying, ‘Hey, guy, get up! Let’s go! You can’t sleep here.’ Then I found out he wasn’t sleeping. He was actually out. So, I got out the Narcan, called 911, and started to spray and pray! About two minutes, that seemed like forever, I had movement, and then the police department showed up and did what they do best. They took over and was able to get him to medical care.”  

I want to make sure my team can be trained and be able to notice what is going on in an overdose situation, what to do, and how to handle it!  I’m nothing special, but just doing what I’m called to do: love God, love people, and help as best I can!“ 

The Union Gospel Mission is the largest emergency shelter in the Sioux Falls area offering the following services.

  • Shelter and meals for an average of 125 men, women, and children each night
  • Resident addiction recovery program
  • Weekly distribution of an average of 900 food boxes

Additional resources on substance use disorder can be found on the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network website.

Raising Awareness about Post-Partum Depression  

Having a baby means many changes, and any new mom can experience postpartum depression (PPD). It can develop after the birth of any child, not just the first. For half of women diagnosed with PPD, it is their first time to have depression.   

Emily Carlson, RN, Bright Start home visiting nurse, emphasized, “When working with moms and babies it is vital for me to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms early on so interventions can be made and help given. Recognizing someone is struggling can be lifesaving.”  

Emily Carlson

For the one in seven women who are impacted by PPD, there are resources available to support them. Having a Bright Start nurse during pregnancy can help. Carlson points out, “During both the prenatal period and the postpartum period, we complete anxiety and depression screenings on all our mothers enrolled in the Bright Start program. PPD is the most common complication for women who have just had a baby and our team has been able to assist many moms connect with the help and resources they need.”    

There is no single cause, but genetics can play a role, in addition to physical changes and emotional issues. A few signs to look out for that can increase the chances of PPD include:  

  • The mother has extreme changes in feelings.  
  • The mother has extreme changes in everyday life.  
  • The mother has extreme changes in thoughts about themselves or the baby.  

To learn more about signs and symptoms of PPD visit Mayo Clinic .  

For mothers experiencing PPD, there are steps that can help mitigate symptoms. In addition to healthy eating habits and getting physical activity, it is important to ask for help when needed and reduce stress as much as possible. Seeking counseling from care providers and support groups may also help to reduce PPD, along with prescribed medication.  

If you feel you may have PPD, seek guidance from a health care provider immediately or call/ text the PPD Helpline at 1-800-944-4773.   

Other resources:
South Dakota Suicide Prevention (   
Help for Moms | Postpartum Support International (PSI)   

Bright start logo

Anyone can refer a family member, friend, or themselves to receive support from Bright Start by completing the referral form on the website.  

APIC Conference Benefits SD Infection Prevention Efforts

Fast and Danko Attend Infection Control Conference MED article highlights South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) team’s experience connecting with infection prevention leaders from across the country. The APIC conference included information on a new scholarship opportunity for critical access hospitals to help with infection prevention and control tools and resources. 

Jess Danko, MSHA, RRT, LTC- CIP, and Cheri Fast, BSN, RN, CIC, LTC- CIP, (pictured l-r) are featured in MED. 

The Midwest Medical Edition (MED) connects health care professionals and distributes medical community news and information within a tri-state area. As an active contributor and partner of MED, the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) news page provides quick and easy access to current project updates and success stories.  

September 13 PFL Office Hour: Germs Live on Dry Surfaces

Dry surfaces like door handles, light switches, and handrails are commonly touched. Proper cleaning and disinfection of surfaces helps reduce the spread of germs and the potential risk for infection. The upcoming South Dakota Project Firstline (SD PFL) Office Hour will review how to reduce the risk of infection on dry surfaces.

SD PFL Office Hour: Germs Live on Dry Surfaces
Wednesday, September 13, 2023, at 11:00 AM Central

Jess Danko

“Being able to identify potential risks in our day-to-day lives allows us to protect our patients, co-workers, and those who enter our healthcare facilities from infection,” explained Jess Danko, MHSA, RRT, LTC-CIP, program manager for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC). “Simple infection control practices can help to mitigate germs and the infection risks that may be present.”

Healthcare professionals from across the state can register for the SD PFL Office Hour to join the open conversation format and discuss infection prevention and control practices. Held on the second Wednesday of the month, each session helps attendees recognize and address infection control risks commonly present in health care and community settings.

Cheri Fast, BSN, RN, CIC, LTC- CIP, SDFMC program manager, shares the healthcare acquired infection (HAI) knowledge she has gained from completing proactive infection control assessments and response (ICAR) for facilities across the state.  

SD PFL supports the HAI efforts by providing education on hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, and process improvements. Find the full list of training tools and resources on the SD PFL website

Connecting with Baby through Skin to Skin 

Following the birth of a child, many new experiences occur when a mother meets her child for the first time and welcomes the newborn into the world. While it may seem chaotic during this time, Bright Start nurses advocate for skin-to-skin contact whenever possible, including immediately following delivery and as much thereafter as possible.   

Carol Phillips, RN, Bright Start nurse home visitor for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) says,

“With my history of working in labor and delivery I have seen the baby’s overall condition improve by being placed skin to skin on the mother’s chest. Babies are more awake and alert thereby increasing the emotional connection with mother. This reassures the infant that he or she is safe.”   

Skin-to-skin contact is a common practice and using this method is a start to a healthy emotional attachment. Furthermore, this direct contact helps to regulate breathing and the heart rate of the newborn. The mother’s chest acts as a natural way to warm the baby and provides what the womb once did, reducing infant stress.  

The results speak for themselves when it comes to skin-to-skin contact with lower rates of hypoglycemia and hypothermia, which lowers costs of healthcare. Additionally, there is an increase in the success of breastfeeding. It also stimulates a specific part of the newborn’s brain which encourages emotional and social development.   

As a Bright Start nurse, Phillips strives to educate clients about skin to skin and hopes to help mothers and fathers become more aware of the benefits through daily practice with their infants.  

To learn more about Bright Start visit their website.

Seeking Bright Start Nurse Home Visitor to Serve Huron

The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care has a vision to improve quality of life for all South Dakotans by collaborating with partners to achieve positive health outcomes. By pursuing the organizational values to seek excellence, develop professionals, focus on outcomes, manage with integrity, and collaborate with partners, SDFMC has expanded the existing project portfolio and continues to seek growth opportunities.

SDFMC is seeking a Bright Start Nurse Home Visitor to serve eligible women in Huron and the surrounding area.

Download the job description for details of the position responsibilities and qualifications and complete the SDFMC Job Application.

Amy Paulson, RN

“The one-on-one partnership with the client and a Bright Start nurse occurs at a pivotal point and impacts the client, the community, and future generations,” explained Amy Paulson, BA, RN, Bright Start coordinator for SDFMC. “We are seeking a compassionate in-home nurse to provide personalized care and support to first time parents and their families.”

Learn more about the projects, activities, and education opportunities by following SDFMC on social media.

Sturgis Mobile Response Team Links Patients and Providers

Most people believe health care services happen within clinics and hospitals, but the need for health care reaches beyond those walls into the community.  Community health workers (CHW) bridge the gap by coordinating care and addressing social determinants of health. The Sturgis Mobile Response Team (SMRT), funded by the South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH), is using CHWs to reduce the volume of ambulance calls and non-emergency 911 calls.  

“What a patient tells a provider can be completely different than what is actually happening in their home situation, said Shawn Fisher, Sturgis Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Ambulance Director. “SMRT teams can go into the patient’s home and help with organizing medications, assessing fall risks, and connecting them with Meals on Wheels so they have healthy food to eat. We are the missing link between patients and providers.”   

CHWs are frontline public health workers with a personal connection and understanding of the community. As a trusted health care resource, CHWs improve connections between health and social service systems and impact the quality and cultural competence of care. With the ability to provide in-home screenings or assessments at the orders of a doctor, CHWs can receive reimbursement through the South Dakota Medicaid program.  

Health care facilities and community-based organizations are seeing the benefits of CHWs to meet challenges of access to care. Sherry Hocking, Butte County ambulance director, added CHWs to her team in Newell and Belle Fourche. Newell is a highly rural area without a medical clinic. The combination of a large geographical service area and a high elderly population make the CHWs a crucial member of the health care team for the rural ambulance provider.   

Vicki Palmreuter

“As more CHW programs are providing services, we are hearing many success stories about the positive impacts CHWs are having in the lives of their patients and clients, and in their communities,”

shared Vicki Palmreuter, BA, CCP, SDFMC program manager.   

SDFMC team members are working with the Community Health Worker Collaborative of South Dakota to expand on the current network of 115 CHWs employed throughout the state. CHW training is available at a variety of technical colleges through in-person and online courses.  

Schuch Aims to Improve South Dakotans Quality of Life   

As a lifelong citizen of South Dakota, Cindy Schuch’s, MS, RN, CPHQ, goal as a nurse has always been to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. Schuch has capitalized on the vast varieties of nursing positions throughout her 30 plus years in healthcare. The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) is excited for Schuch to join the team and provide her expertise as a program manager.    

She believes that the experience of each opportunity builds on another to provide the best high-quality care for a person, whether at the bedside or building systems or resources that deliver or support care.

“I thrive on building and improving systems that help the client and those that serve the client. My attention to detail and building processes are integral to my role as a program manager and quality improvement advisor,”     

exclaims Schuch.

Prior to joining SDFMC, Cindy held a variety of positions within Sanford Health. Her clinical foundation began in the cardiac realm in the hospital and clinic settings. After she obtained her master’s degree, she was an RN Administrator for an assisted living facility. The world of quality and accreditation drew her back to the Sanford system where she spent another 8 years supporting the entire scope of services in quality improvement, regulations, and accreditation.      

She took this knowledge and experience globally when she worked with Sanford World Clinic, particularly in the clinics of Ghana. She led the team to achieve SafeCare certification, one of few in their country, as well as built standards of practice for several service lines in those clinics.

She later returned to Sanford where she was a clinical supervisor in a busy internal medicine clinic. During that time, it was a designated site for the covid vaccine when it was rolled out. Most recently, she was a clinical care leader in the Preoperative area, assuring patients were prepared and cleared for surgery. Schuch also worked with SDAHO on a project to increase collaboration of opioid abuse response efforts in selected communities in South Dakota.    

She said joining SDFMC was an easy decision, “I chose SDFMC because I wanted to align my work more closely with my professional aim and to capitalize on my broad experience as a nurse. SDFMC allows me to do just that.”   

To learn more about Schuch and read her biography visit SDFMC.   

Project Firstline August Office Hours

South Dakota Project Firstline (PFL) Office Hours provides an opportunity to listen to a new educational topic each month. PFL office hours allow participants to join a Q&A discussion on topics of interest and relevance to the attendees. Additionally, new office hours now include Cheri Fast, BSN, RN, CIC, LTC- CIP, and her healthcare acquired infection (HAI) knowledge.   

Register here and join PFL’s office hours call this month. Make sure to bring an infection control topic or question that can be discussed following the educational topic for the month of August.    

Rebecca Sime, RN, program manager for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) announced the topic by pointing out,  

“August’s focus is Germs Live in the Respiratory system. You can help stop the spread of germs, and it can be as easy as hand hygiene.”   

Mary Jane Koehn, RN

Attendees are invited to share topics they would like discussed in upcoming sessions. They can provide suggestions during the call or send an email with a topic of interest. Infection Control and Prevention is a healthcare area that has the potential to impact everyone. Actively participating in ongoing education and training in infection prevention are key practices for healthcare workers in preventing healthcare acquired infections.    

SD PFL Office Hour sessions are recorded and available for review at

SDFMC Infection Prevention Team Expansion

Accepting Job Applications for Program Manager: Ryan White Part B

The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) has a mission to improve quality of life for all South Dakotans by collaborating with healthcare professionals and community partners to achieve excellence in care. By pursing the organizational values to seek excellence, develop professionals, focus on outcomes, manage with integrity, and collaborate with partners, SDFMC has expanded the existing project portfolio and continues to seek growth opportunities.

SDFMC’s most recent contract is to support the Ryan White Part B Program efforts to improve HIV-related health outcomes and enhance the delivery of comprehensive care.

Individuals interested improving the quality of life for individuals living with HIV in South Dakota are encouraged to complete a job application. The position requires a dedicated and detail-oriented professional who can effectively coordinate and support various initiatives and stakeholders. 

Download the job description for details and complete the SDFMC Job Application.

Learn more about the projects, activities, and education opportunities by following SDFMC on social media.