Hoeven Convenes Meeting with Devils Lake Mayor, ND Health Commissioner, Health Care Leaders from Essentia, Altru & CHI

Goal to Improve Health Care in the Lake Region

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today convened a roundtable to discuss the future of quality health care in the Devils Lake region. Hoeven has been working with community leaders and health care providers to identify and advance community-driven solutions to ensure the best possible care for residents in the area. To this end, the senator highlighted recently-completed health care facilities in Grafton and Hazen, as well as one being built in Rugby, as examples of how to enhance rural health care services in way that benefits both providers and patients. As the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has worked to support programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that were essential in making these new facilities a reality:

  • In total, the projects in Grafton, Hazen and Rugby received more than $90 million in direct and federally-guaranteed loans.
    • This provided the capital and certainty needed for the project developers to move forward.
  • Hoeven stressed that a similar approach can work for Devils Lake and discussed opportunities for providers to work together to establish a unified health care system in the region.
  • Today’s roundtable participants included:
    • Jim Moe, Mayor of Devils Lake.
    • Chris Jones, Commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services.
    • Dr. Rich Vetter, Interim President of Essentia Health–West Market.
    • Todd Forkel, CEO of Altru Health System.
    • Mariann Doeling, President of CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake.
  • The senator plans to hold follow-up meetings with leaders from CHI, Altru and Essentia in the coming weeks to keep this process moving forward.

“The health care workforce in Devils Lake does a tremendous job, but we need the facilities that will attract more staff and better enable them to meet the health care needs of the Lake Region. This meeting is about identifying and advancing community-driven solutions towards this goal,” said Hoeven. “That’s exactly what we did in Grafton, Hazen and Rugby, where we worked with providers to leverage federal support and provide modern facilities with state-of-the-art equipment. We can do the same in Devils Lake, but we need providers to step forward and commit to making this investment in the community. I appreciate Mayor Moe’s continued efforts, as well as our health care providers for their willingness to meet and work with us on this important priority.”

Today’s discussion builds upon a meeting Hoeven held with Mayor Moe in June 2022, as well as his efforts with the city’s former mayor, Dick Johnson, to address the region’s health care needs.