Hoeven: After 10 Years of Delay, Devils Lake VA Clinic on Track to Open This Spring: Lease Awarded, Space in Preparation in Construction

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today reviewed the site of the new Devils Lake Veterans Telehealth Clinic, which after a 10-years effort is now finally underway at Mercy Hospital. The senator has been working since he came to Congress to get the Veterans Administration (VA) to fund and operate a new Devils Lake clinic for veterans in the region. In September, Mercy Hospital was awarded the contract to house the new facility, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014.

Hoeven toured the third-floor site of the new clinic with Mercy Hospital President Jim Marshall. The area has been cleared and is being prepared for construction as soon as design work is completed.

“After a ten-year effort, our veterans in the Devils Lake region are on track to have the security and convenience of a VA medical facility right in their community,” Hoeven said. “Many of them are aging and having a clinic housed in a full service hospital like Mercy will be a great benefit to them. We also commend the administrators of Mercy Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives for their commitment to the men and women who risked everything to defend our nation.”

Mercy Hospital is a critical access hospital owned by Catholic Health Initiative. The hospital was awarded the contract to house the clinic in its facility to make it possible for local veterans to access the care they need in Devils Lake rather than having to commute to Fargo. The hospital will serve as the landlord and the clinic will be operated and managed by the VA.

Hoeven said the VA is currently working with Mercy Hospital’s design team to finalize the layout of this clinic. Once approved, a notice to proceed will be issued to Mercy Hospital to begin construction. The clinic is targeting March 2014 as a completion date on the construction, after which an opening date will be set for the clinic to offer primary, specialty, and other services via telemedicine as well as lab and care coordination. Services will be provided five days a week for 20 hours.

Last year, Hoeven secured assurances from the VA that they would follow through with a commitment to provide primary outpatient care and a telehealth clinic in Devils Lake. The senator again pressed the case this spring during a meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and also in an Appropriations Committee hearing.

Hoeven is a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee.