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The South Dakota definitions of events are provided in ARSD 44:04:01:07. The definitions include:

  • ◊  any death resulting from other than natural causes originating on facility property such as accidents, abuse, negligence, or suicide;
  • ◊  any missing patient or resident;
  • ◊  any allegation of abuse or neglect of any patient or resident by any person.
  • ◊  any fire with structural damage or where injury or death occurs;
  • ◊  any partial or complete evacuation of the facility resulting from natural disaster; or
  • ◊  any loss of utilities, such as electricity, natural gas, telephone, emergency generator, fire alarm, sprinklers, and other critical equipment necessary for operation of the facility for more than 24 hours.

These definitions translate to 11 distinct definitions of adverse events. Experience confirms that these events are reported very uncommonly in South Dakota.

The initial definition is especially ambiguous and includes multiple distinct adverse events. The definitions includes events that cause death, but not those that cause minor or serious injury or no injury. Only medical errors causing a death and related to ‘accidents or negligence” are unambiguously encompassed by the definition and would, therefore, be reportable.

Suicide’ is reasonably understandable, and ‘missing patients’ and ‘neglect and abuse,’ while prone to subjective judgment are reasonably interpretable.

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