Hoeven Joins Community to Open New Devils Lake VA Clinic

Senator Continues Work to Ensure Veterans Have Access to Care Closer to Home

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined the community to celebrate the opening of the new Devils Lake Veterans Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), which will begin serving veterans in the region tomorrow. The new facility at Mercy Hospital will operate five days a week from 8 am to noon and provide primary care, mental health and specialty services via telehealth, with a licensed VA physician on site each month.

“For about a decade now, we’ve been working to provide our veterans in the Devils Lake region with a VA medical facility in their community so they have access to health care services closer to home,” said Hoeven. “We appreciate all those who have worked to make this clinic a reality so we can better show our gratitude to the men and women who have served our nation.”

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

Hoeven worked to ensure the VA followed through with its commitment to provide primary outpatient care and a telehealth clinic in Devils Lake. Since coming to the Senate, Hoeven pressed for progress on the Devils Lake clinic repeatedly in meetings with the Veterans Affairs Secretary and in Appropriations Committee hearings. Hoeven also toured the site in December to review progress on the clinic.

Additionally, last month, Hoeven helped to pass the Veterans Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014. Under the bill veterans will now have the option to receive care from a non-VA provider at the department’s expense if they cannot schedule an appointment within the established VA wait times or if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility. The measure also improves accountability and transparency at the VA, including provisions to reform the way performance reviews are used and to make more information available to patients and the public. 

He has been leading efforts to ensure that veterans can access a nearby health care provider if their local Community Based Outpatient Clinic or VA Medical Center cannot provide the required service. He met recently with newly confirmed VA Secretary Robert McDonald to press for his support to implement a policy administratively that would allow veterans more options for health care and long-term care (LTC) services in their home communities.

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