Altru talks about next steps in Devils Lake community after community forums

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE - After hearing from approximately 100 of our residents who provided their feedback on the state of care in the Lake Region and shared their ideas for the future, Altru has provided the community the four biggest things they took away from the community forum and what they plan for next steps. 

Devils Lake should be a regional medical hub - To achieve this, more services must be added locally. Key services discussed included include general surgery, ENT, podiatry, mental health services and expanded renal dialysis, among others.

Altru said they will begin expanding services to access in the clinic, and when a unified hospital and clinic model can be achieved, even further expansion will be possible.

Ongoing provider recruitment and retention- Residents expressed their concerns over strategies to continue to recruit providers to live locally in Devils Lake. We discussed the great benefits of Altru’s residency program, and the opportunities it can provide to increase providers who want to practice here. With a unified system, a wider range of providers will be attracted to the community.

You want more from your healthcare provider - Beyond the traditional healthcare setting, participants shared that you’d like to see more community support and involvement from Altru. We are excited to share that we will be partnering with the public schools on a long-term commitment and sponsorship to enhance care for student athletes. This will include an additional athletic trainer and enhanced services. We also working with the schools systems to support having a school nurse who is employed by Altru, further enhancing the health and wellness of our youth. We look forward to even more community engagement in the future.

A future hospital - The biggest component of developing a unified system is bringing the hospital and clinic together. While there is still a lot to determine in how this looks, we discussed possibilities including the purchase of CHI St. Alexius, a partnership with the community to own and operate the hospital, and if these options are not possible, the building of a new hospital in the community.

Next Steps - 

Altru said their next steps will be to form a committee to discuss further the future of local healthcare in Devils Lake.

"This committee will be made up of representatives from Altru, local healthcare providers and community stakeholders with a key interest in the successful healthcare future for the community," Stephanie Foughty, Chair of Altru Clinic Devils Lake and Amber Stokke, Manager of Altru Clinic Devils Lake said. 

The committee, according to Altru, will meet regularly beginning in August.

Devils Lake Journal will continue to provide updates regarding this ongoing story.