Hoeven Highlights Expansion at Unity Medical Center to Provide Rural Health Care

GRAFTON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today outlined the importance of access to health care in rural communities at Unity Medical Center (UMC) in Grafton. The senator met with health care providers and toured the recently-upgraded facility, where he discussed his efforts to advance rural development and innovative solutions, like telehealth, to help improve health care access in rural areas. During his time as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven helped secure a $16.7 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan to support the construction of the medical center, and helped break ground on the addition in 2019. The facility houses a new surgery center, rehabilitation services center, emergency room, private patient rooms and a medical training and education center.

“The expansion and upgrades at UMC ensure that those seeking care in Walsh County and the surrounding region are able to access the health care services that they need,” said Hoeven. “Having access to care such as rehabilitation services, specialists and surgery at this updated facility not only strengthens the community but allows for individuals to get care closer to home, improving the well-being of local residents.”

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.