Hoeven Discusses Efforts to Improve Access to High-Quality Health Care in Hazen, Expand Telehealth Services

Senator Tours Sakakawea Medical Center, Meets with Local Leaders

HAZEN, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today toured the Sakakawea Medical Center in Hazen and held a roundtable with local leaders to discuss efforts to improve access to high-quality care in the community. The medical center, which opened in 2017, brought together the previous hospital, clinic and long-term care providers into one facility, providing more streamlined and effective care to the region’s residents. The $30.5 million facility was supported by a direct loan for $11 million and a guaranteed loan of $10.3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Facilities Program, which Hoeven works to support as the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee.

“With a modern facility and state-of-the-art equipment, the Sakakawea Medical Center is bringing improved access and more efficient health care to Hazen and the surrounding communities,” said Hoeven. “Moreover, by leveraging telehealth technologies, we can give providers even greater reach, delivering more convenient and cost-effective care to people, regardless of their ZIP code. That’s exactly what we’re working to accomplish by advancing measures like our CONNECT for Health Act.”  

In addition, Hoeven is working to advance innovative solutions, like telehealth, to help improve health care access in rural areas. To this end, the senator helped introduce the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2021. This legislation will further expand coverage of telehealth services through Medicare, make permanent certain telehealth flexibilities that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic and allow patients to more easily connect with their doctors by:

  • Permanently removing all geographic restrictions on telehealth services and expanding originating sites to include the home and other sites.
  • Allowing community health centers and rural health clinics to provide telehealth services.
  • Providing the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the authority to waive telehealth restrictions in certain circumstances.