Hagedorn, Colleagues Urge America’s Governors to Safely Reopen Medical Centers

May 18, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) today led a coalition of nine of his U.S. House colleagues in sending a letter to National Governors Association Chairman Larry Hogan (R-MD) encouraging our nation’s governors to establish guidelines for the responsible, safe and prompt reopening of hospitals and other medical care providers to the general public in their respective states.

Congressman Hagedorn has been a vocal leader on this issue – drawing from his own experience of receiving an advanced kidney cancer diagnosis thanks to a routine doctor visit in early 2019. The numbers and insights of medical experts are backing up the argument, too. As cited in a White House press briefing last week:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration saw a 1000 percent increase in hotline responses in April;
  • Screenings for three common types of cancer were down 86 percent in April and 94 percent in March;
  • Projections show that potentially more than 80,000 diagnoses of five common types of cancer will be missed from March to the beginning of June;
  • Medical professionals across the country are expressing concern that patients exhibiting symptoms of heart attack and stroke are not seeking treatment; and,
  • 75,000 Americans are at risk of suicide and substance abuse due to the pandemic.

"We remain deeply concerned that the medical needs of Americans are being neglected and those in immediate need of life-saving treatment or surgery are one day closer to a terminal diagnosis or even death,” the lawmakers wrote. “For this reason, we believe a new strategy must be implemented to care for COVID-19 cases, while reopening medical facilities across the nation that are not dealing with high surge rates to residents in need of tests, surgeries, treatments and general consultations."

"The fact that tens of thousands of Americans will go undiagnosed with cancer over the next several months is tragic and heartbreaking. As someone whose life has been saved due to an accidental and unexpected medical diagnosis and prompt cancer treatment, I know firsthand the personal and public health dangers that come with people avoiding critical consultations and diagnostic tests out of fear from COVID-19," said Hagedorn. “It is time to safely begin reopening and offering full services in our hospitals and medical centers so that all Americans have access to life-saving and timely, quality medical care."

In addition to Rep. Hagedorn, the list of cosigners to the letter includes: Reps. Tom Emmer (MN-06), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Andy Harris (MD-01), Robert Latta (OH-05), Fred Keller (PA-12), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Steve King (IA-04) and Troy Balderson (OH-12).

Read the full letter here.

Jim Hagedorn was elected in 2018 to represent Minnesota’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He grew up on his family’s grain and livestock farm near Truman. Jim’s father, former U.S. Congressman Tom Hagedorn (MN-02), grandfather, and great-grandfather were all southern Minnesota farmers. Jim currently resides in the rural farming community of Blue Earth. Hagedorn brings policy experience to Capitol Hill from time spent as a congressional aide to former U.S. Congressman Arlan Stangeland (MN-07) and a congressional relations officer for two non-partisan U.S. Department of the Treasury agencies. Hagedorn serves on the House Committees on Agriculture and Small Business to promote farming, Main Street enterprises and southern Minnesota’s way of life.