Governor Dunleavy announces emergency support for Alaska medical clinics

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced on Wednesday that medical personnel are on their way to Alaska to help assist operations within the state’s health care facilities. 

 

Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.

 

According to Dunleavy’s office, nearly 300 registered nurses and more than 100 nursing assistants or patient care technicians are among those that will be assisting medical facilities in the state. The emergency services are provided under an $87 million contract between the State of Alaska and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). 

The incoming health care workers, many of whom are expected to arrive in the state next week, are part of a comprehensive plan that was finalized this week by Gov. Dunleavy to help deal with the strain from the influx of COVID patients. Last week, Providence announced that they are having to ration care with one of the worst COVID surges in the state. 

“We asked Alaskans for the last year and a half to work together on the challenge posed by COVID-19,” said Governor Dunleavy in his announcement. “Our hospitals need help with staffing, supplies, and Alaskans to do their part. Today’s announcement brings qualified health professionals when we need it and provides Alaskans with the tools we need to manage through this difficult time.”

Under the administration’s new plan, the State Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Office will be working with local EMS agencies on strategies to address crowding in hospitals. The strategies might look different in various communities, but will include methods of facilitating a quicker discharge for other patients that are seeking care. 

Part of the administration’s emergency plan includes a contract for the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA) to help recruit and expand the certified nursing assistant workforce. New legislation to help hasten the process of getting Alaskans certified as Nurse Aides should help with this expansion. According to the release, the regulation change will align Alaska’s Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) training requirements with the federal requirements for 120 days, will reduce the number of training hours from 140 to 75, and will require training programs to meet the federal training requirements. 

At-home COVID-19 test kits will also be provided for families with students who are learning in-person. This resource will help curb any potential spread of the virus.