With the end of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency today, North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) reminds North Dakotans about health priorities, early intervention and prevention, and the programs and services that are available to support health and well-being.
“In order to become the healthiest state in the nation, we are encouraging North Dakotans to get back to the basics, using health strategies that work to maintain and improve health and well-being, prevent disease and illness, and promote early diagnosis and treatment,” said State Health Officer Dr. Nizar Wehbi. “These include making time for annual checkups with your health care provider, getting preventive health screenings and standard immunizations and adopting healthy lifestyles and behaviors such as exercising more, eating healthier meals, getting good sleep, avoiding or seeking help to stop misuse of tobacco and other substances, and seeking support and treatment for behavioral health needs.”
Wehbi said the most significant health concerns impacting North Dakotans include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancers, declining childhood immunization rates, substance use disorder, untreated mental health needs and deaths by suicide.
The pandemic and public health emergency transformed the way the department provided some services. Some changes were temporary, and others may continue to be used to better serve North Dakotans, especially those living in more rural areas.
Medicaid, for example, continues to pay for services provided by telehealth, including 1915(i) supports and services and behavioral health assessments, counseling and therapy. To support quality care and services, developmental disability service providers and other providers will continue to use online training and professional development modules, but will also resume in-person first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) staff training.
Senior nutrition program meal participants will still be able to access the popular grab-and-go meals, in addition to in-person dining and home-delivered meals. This pandemic-related change has increased participation in the meal program, benefitting the health of thousands of older North Dakotans.
While pandemic-era initiatives, such as Medicaid continuous eligibility, have ended or are ending, safety net services and crisis help remain available. HHS, the human service zones and other partners, continue to connect people to help through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Women Infants and Children (WIC), heating and cooling assistance, child care assistance, Women’s Way breast and cervical cancer screening, Medicaid, children’s special health services, and other long-standing services and support.
Individuals in crisis or others who are concerned about a loved one in crisis are encouraged to call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org/chat.
Individuals struggling financially, are encouraged to learn about available assistance with food, heating, child care costs and health care coverage at hhs.nd.gov/applyforhelp or through the Customer Support Center at (866) 614-6005, or 711 (TTY).
HHS encourages North Dakotans to visit hhs.nd.gov to learn more about programs or services.