(Sioux Falls, SD) –Patient Choice for South Dakota delivered 29,000 signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant Friday, having gathered far more than enough to meet the necessary requirements for including the initiated measure on the November 2014 ballot.
The initiated measure would allow patients to choose or to keep their own health care provider regardless of their employer or health insurance. The goal is to maintain the highest quality of health care for patients of South Dakota.
"The doctor patient relationship is a special one and should be protected," says Dr. Peter Looby, an orthopedic surgeon in Sioux Falls and one of the bills' sponsors. "A patient should not be penalized, paying more money out-of-pocket to see the health care provider they want to see who can best serve their needs."
In early September, the group began collecting signatures for the measure which would allow willing providers into closed insurance networks if they agree to the terms and conditions of the insurance company.
"This began as, and continues to be, a grassroots effort," says bill co-sponsor Dr. Stephen Eckrich, an orthopedic surgeon in Rapid City. "The support from physicians and other medical providers around the state has been overwhelming. Dozens of health care clinics around the state circulated petitions proving just how important this issue is to both patients and providers."
"Once people learned about the measure, they were more than willing to sign," says Dr. Paul Cink, co-sponsor and ENT specialist in Sioux Falls. "The response from the public is proof that this issue matters to the people of South Dakota."