WILLISTON The Fargo VA Health Care Systems plans to allow veterans to secure more health care services in western North Dakota when available rather than make the long drive to the Fargo VA facility.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., hosted a roundtable in Williston on Tuesday to discuss the plans.
Currently, the VA offers services in the western part of the state through local outpatient community clinics in Williston, Minot and Dickinson, but veterans are compelled to travel to the Fargo VA facility for some services that are not offered by the VA clinics but that could be performed by local health care providers.
At a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing last month, Hoeven pressed Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and VA Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel to allow veterans in western North Dakota to access health care services in the local community when available. Last week, the Fargo VA HCS reported to the senator on their plans to:
Increase the use of telemedicine.
Support referrals to community facilities for veterans who need specialty services.
Continue partnerships which allow them to monitor the availability of health care in western North Dakota and expand local access for veterans.
"One of the most tangible ways we repay our tremendous debt to our veterans is by providing them with the quality health care they need when they leave the service," Hoeven said. "The VA has made a good start in the effort to provide more services for our veterans at local clinics and hospitals in western North Dakota rather than drive to Fargo for tests like MRIs and CT scans or to receive chemotherapy. We look forward to seeing how well the plan is implemented."