Printer Friendly

Alaska's hospitals rise to their challenges: mission statements show vision for Alaska's growing health needs.


Just like members of any community, each member of Alaska's health care community has its own strengths and challenges. But the community's diversity enables it to provide a more comprehensive range and efficiency of care.


Providence Health & Services Alaska ( states its mission: "As people of Providence, we reveal God's love for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, through our compassionate service" although service is provided for all who seek care.

The organization was founded more than 100 years ago when the Sisters of Providence brought health care to Nome. Today, Providence serves people in Anchorage, Kodiak, Seward, Valdez, Eagle River, the Mat-Su and Soldotna.

The state's largest hospital, 371-bed Providence Alaska Medical Center offers Adult Critical Care, Behavioral Health Services, The Children's Hospital at Providence, The Providence Cancer Center, Emergency Department, Heart & Vascular Center, Imaging Services, Laboratory Services, LifeMed Alaska Air Ambulance, Maternity Center, Neuroscience Services, including a Sleep Center, an Advanced Primary Stroke Center and REACH telestroke program, Orthopedic Services and Surgery Services.

Providence's current project will expand and modernize areas related to prenatal and birthing, the cardiac surgery program, surgical services and some support services, all by 2014.

The changing health care environment, influenced by health care reform and an aging population, presents one of Providence's biggest viability challenges. Helping patients become more responsible for their own health is part of the solution, along with promoting wellness-based health care.

"We remain privileged to carry on the Mission of the Sisters of Providence," said Bruce Lamoureux, chief executive officer. "Our commitment to excellence and compassionate care will continue to guide us through the challenges and opportunities we face in the furore."


The mission of Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (www.anthctoday. org) based in Anchorage is "to achieve status as the healthiest people in the world for Alaska Natives, to provide excellent care in a hospital setting while simultaneously working with regional health care offices to meet the medical needs in the Bush and to work in a collaborative team environment to make sure preventive and proactive needs are addressed."

Primarily serving Natives, ANTHC was founded in 1997 and is owned by Alaska Natives through tribal governments and regional nonprofit organizations.

ANTHC operates the only certified Level 2 trauma system in the state, along with auxiliary patient services, diabetes program, emergency department, cancer care, otolaryngology, respiratory therapy and surgery.

Fiona Brosnan, representing the organization, said ANTHC's strengths are its "highly dedicated medical team" and that "it's a magnet designated for nursing staff, top-notch ancillary services and the support staff hospital-wide."

ANTHC recently built a $12.3 million addition to its maternal/child health program. It is developing a medical office building to increase access to tertiary care providers, and assessing and evaluating the expansion of in-patient and out-patient facilities, changes that should help insure coordination of care.

"It makes or breaks us each day because so many variables affect patients' ability to arrive from the Bush," Bronson said.

Sufficient revenue, exacerbated by declining insurance reimbursements and increasing costs, presents another challenge. ANTCH also competes with non-Native hospitals, which may have facilities equal to or better than its.

"We're updating our facilities, updating our programs and bringing our customers back whenever possible," Bronson said.


Alaska Regional Hospital's ( simple mission is "To be a caring partner, improving health for life."

ARH has served both Anchorage residents and patients from all over the state for more than 40 years, when founded as Anchorage Presbyterian Hospital.

Today, the 250-bed ARH offers inpatient and outpatient services, including heart surgery and cardiovascular services, an orthopedic and spine center, the surgical services, cancer resources and a neuroscience center that includes neurological diagnostic imaging, interventions and neurosurgery.

The facility was rated in U.S. News and World Report's "2010-2011 Best Hospitals" study as the 47th best hospital in the country for orthopedics--the only hospital in Alaska to make the list.

Additionally, HealthGrades, an independent health care ratings organization, has ranked ARH as No. 1 in the state for total joint replacements since 2007 and No. 1 for overall orthopedic services since 2009.

Recruiting challenges ARH, especially for highly sought-after positions in the specialized nursing areas.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about what it's really like to live in Alaska," said Annie Holt, CEO, adding that the stereotypes can add to recruiting challenges. "Our top priority is providing safe, high-quality care," Holt continued. "We continue to honor this commitment by investing in the best minds in the industry and the newest technologies. We are working to maintain our success in the areas where we are listed as being best in Alaska, but are also looking for areas in which we can grow our services."


Central Peninsula General Hospital ( is "dedicated to promoting wellness and providing highquality care that ensures the confidence and loyalty of our customers," said Rick Davis, chief operating officer.


CPGH serves the Central Kenai Peninsula area from Cooper Landing south to Anchor Point: approximately 35,000 people. It's come a long way since 1964 when a community meeting of homesteaders initially discussed the possibility of an area hospital which led to the hospital opening in 1971.

The organization includes Central Peninsula Hospital, Serenity House (a residential treatment center), Heritage Place (a continuing care facility), and eight physician practices in the following specialties: family practice (3), neurology, pain management, general surgery, orthopedics and women's health. LifeMed air ambulance service provides emergency medical care for the entire region.

The medical staff and allied medical staff specialties include anesthesia, emergency medicine, family medicine, ENT, general surgery, internal medicine, OB/GYN, ophthalmology, orthopedics, neurology, gynecology, obstetrics, pathology, podiatry, psychiatry, urology and radiology.

An 85,000-square-foot expansion and renovation project has added and improved facilities for private patient rooms and many hospital services.

Like many hospitals, CPH's challenges include preparing for the potential of large revenue declines related to health care reform in the coming years.

The hospital also wants to improve its Quality of Care rating scores as measured by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), Clinical Care effectiveness scores (process of care measures), and Employee Engagement scores.


Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Denali Center ( states, "We exist to make a difference in people's lives through excellent patient care" as its mission.

The hospital serves Native and military communities from the North Slope to the Alaska range and east from the Canadian border and west to the Bering Sea.

Founded more than 30 years ago, FMHDC is owned by the people of Fairbanks through the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation and operated by nonprofit Banner Health.

FMHDC is a 242-bed integrated health system that offers emergency, general medical, cardiology, surgical and critical-care services.

FMHDC provides same-day outpatient surgery, cardiac rehabilitation, radiology services, long term and dementia care, pain treatment, cancer care, diabetes center, sleep disorders lab, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, home care services and home medical equipment.

"The chief strength of FMHDC is the culture of community centeredness ...," said Mike Powers, CEO. "(This) translates to ... the best patient outcomes and an experience beyond the patients' expectation."

FMHDC offers such a broad scope of specialties by partnering with a variety of physician groups.

FMHDC focuses on medical staff recruitment, not just for the hospital, but for community partners, too. A community recruiting collaborative has resulted in 70 new physicians coming to Fairbanks in the last five years.

FMHDC also promotes professional growth and development of staff internally and with its partners in health care. "As these programs experience funding shortfalls and enrollment shifts, the long-range impact may be staffing shortages," Powers said.

As with the other health care facilities mentioned, FMHDC faces financial challenges along with rising needs.

"FMHDC acknowledges the need for additional local resources for hospice, assisted living, vascular diseases and emergency psychiatric care," Powers said. "As FMHDC appraises its capacity to meet these emergent needs, the mission to be an innovative leader in health care in Alaska will be paramount."


At SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (, the mission is "to provide the highest quality health services in partnership with Native people."

The Sitka-based, nonprofit tribal health consortium consists of 18 Native communities that serve the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and other Native people of Southeast Alaska. SEARHC is one of the oldest and largest Nativerun health organizations in the nation.

In addition to the 27-bed hospital, SEARHC offers out-patient health, optometry, dental, physical therapy, behavioral health, substance abuse residential programs, health promotions and more.

"It's a regional hospital, so it's the referral point where the regional clinics, especially the Native patients, get sent for advanced testing," said Charles Bingham representing the organization. "We've tried to bring a lot of our services into the community so people don't have to travel for them. We're one of the few tribal health hospitals that has a fully staffed surgical program, generalists and specialists."


Bartlett Regional Hospital ( in Juneau "provides quality health care and health promotion for the people of Juneau and communities of Northern Southeast Alaska."

This includes a 15,000-square-mile region in the northern part of Southeast Alaska in which approximately 55,000 people reside. Many in the service area are communities inaccessible by road.

Founded as St. Ann's Hospital, the hospital opened in 1886 and was operated by the Sisters of St. Ann until the 1960s. In 1965, the City and Borough of Juneau assumed operation and a new facility, named for Alaska Senator Bob Bartlett, was built at the hospital's present location.

The 67-bed, self-supporting facility includes surgical services, diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, chemo/ infusion therapy services, physical/ occupational/speech therapy services, obstetrics, general medical/surgical services, mental health inpatient treatment, outpatient psychiatric services, chemical dependency residential and outpatient treatment, and sleep studies.

Bartlett Regional Hospital has recently completed a $67 million new construction and renovation project of the hospital (150,000 square feet) over the course of seven years. Borough voters approved a temporary sales tax to help fund of this project.

Bartlett is expanding its Digital Imaging this year, replacing a 16-slice CT scanner and adding a 128-slice model.

"By the end of this year, we will implement eICU technology in our Critical Care Unit providing direct patient monitoring and care through connection with Intensivists in Anchorage and around the country," said Jim Strader, a hospital representative. "We finished the final stage of our Medical Surgical Unit adding increase bariatric capability."

The hospital plans to build a Child and Adolescent Mental Health facility in Juneau to provide 12 inpatient beds that could provide mental health evaluation with treatment and 10- to 14-day detoxification for chemically dependent youth.

"We were recognized for the second year in a row by Mountain Pacific Quality for our overall commitment to quality and patient care," Strader said.

Bartlett hopes to meet the challenge of rising demand for local health care by "recruitment of highly-qualified nurses and other medical professionals, reimbursement, and transportation difficulties due to Juneau and Southeast Alaska's geographic isolation," Strader said.
COPYRIGHT 2011 Alaska Business Publishing Company, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:HEALTH & MEDICINE; Providence Health & Services Alaska; Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; Alaska Regional Hospital
Comment:Alaska's hospitals rise to their challenges: mission statements show vision for Alaska's growing health needs.(HEALTH & MEDICINE)(Providence Health & Services Alaska)(Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium)(Alaska Regional Hospital)
Author:Sergeant, Deborah Jeanne
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:List
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Dec 1, 2011
Previous Article:Juneau: Alaska's capital city faring well.
Next Article:Redeveloping an Anchorage community: Mountain View business district forges a new future.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |