Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health

South Dakota Board of Nursing

A Multidisciplinary Diversion Program
for Chemically Impaired Health Professionals



The state of South Dakota Health Professionals Assistance Program (HPAP) provides a non-disciplinary option for participating licensing Boards to deal with impaired regulated health professionals who recognize their illness of Chemical Dependency and need for continuing care and/or practice limitations.  The program is confidential and professionally staffed to monitor treatment and continuing care of regulated health professionals who may be unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety if their illness is not appropriately managed.


The South Dakota Health Professionals Assistance Program is dedicated to enhancing public safety and support for regulated health professionals by facilitating early intervention, treatment, and safe return to practice of health professionals whose functioning is impaired by the use of alcohol and/or other drugs.

The Health Professionals Assistance Program acknowledges a primary concern for public safety.  The program attempts to ensure public safety by providing voluntary, confidential alternatives for those chemically impaired health professionals who might otherwise go undetected.


The Health Professionals Assistance Program believes that the harmful involvement with alcohol or other drugs causes a negative impact on the physical, mental, social, vocational, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual areas of an individual's life.  The Program recognizes that impaired health professionals are individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping others and are now in need of help, and acknowledges that facilitating the acquisition of this help must remain a primary goal of the Health Professionals Assistance Program.  The Program follows a non-punitive approach, in which the program staff works in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, other sanctions which a health related Board might impose upon the individual health professional.

Program Services

HPAP develops individualized Program Participation Agreements that monitor compliance of the chemically impaired professional to the prescribed program.  Monitoring can be facilitated in the following ways:

  • Referrals for evaluation and/or treatment
  • Documented continuing care plan
  • Worksite Monitors
  • Support group attendance
  • Practice restrictions
  • Unscheduled drug screening
  • Filing of reports necessary to document compliance
  • Contracts for program requirements

A health professional may access the Assistance Program by self-referral, Board referral, or referral from another person or agency, such as an employer, coworker, or family member.  Admission to HPAP is available to any individual who, at the time of application:

  • holds a license as a healthcare professional from a participating Board in South Dakota;
  • is eligible for and in the process of applying for licensure from a participating Board in South Dakota;
  • is accepted as a student in a program in South Dakota leading to licensure as a healthcare professional;
  • has not diverted controlled substances for other than personal use;
  • has not been accused of sexual misconduct;
  • has not been terminated from a similar program in this or another state for noncompliance; or
  • does not create too great a risk for the healthcare consumer through continued practice.

Participating Boards: Dentistry, Medical & Osteopathic Examiners, Nursing, Pharmacy

Red Flag Signs that the HealthCare Professional May be Diverting (Poster)

For additional information contact:

South Dakota Health Professionals Assistance Program
3130 West 57th Street Suite 111
Sioux Falls SD 57108


        Tel: (605) 275-4711   

        Fax: (605) 275-4715

Refer to SDCL 36-2A (Health Professionals Assistance Program)