Alaska clinic promotes new health care model


Ethan Kispert


Changes are on the way for health care in Alaska. Envoy Integrated Health, a new clinically integrated network (CIN), has been formed by a group of Alaska physicians. The goal behind this coordinated effort is to better connect physicians with the patients they serve and to continue offering the type of care that they need while keeping prices competitive. 


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According to a newsletter from the group, U.S. health care is often regarded as “sick” care and focused more on immediate treatment instead of prevention.

This current system is based on a principle of “fee-for-service medicine.” According to the news release, this type of system is disadvantageous for both the patient and the health care provider because it drives up costs, doesn’t improve patients outcomes, and it places more of a burden on staff and physicians with excessive paperwork. 

The value-based care reimbursement model, however, places more of an emphasis on better outcomes and in long-term patient health. According to the release, the value-based care model connects a provider’s reimbursements with better patient outcomes, and rewards health care providers who weigh the best options for their patients towards promoting better long-term health. 

Rather than focusing on the quantity of patients that are treated, this method of health care places a focus on the type of care each patient receives and helps to ensure that providers are as efficient and cost-conscious as possible. 

Being a CIN helps Envoy Integrated Health and their physicians shift from the “fee-for-service” model to the “value-based care” model. This model helps any participating hospital by rewarding providers, according to the release, who “carefully evaluate options and work closely with patients to improve their overall health.” 

Dr. Gene Quinn, MD, MPH, a cardiologist with the Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute and the Chief Medical officer at Envoy, leads the effort in developing Envoy. 

One aspect of his “value-based care” model is ensuring effective communication between CINs and health information exchanges (HIEs). According to a healtheConnect Alaska article, Envoy Integrated Health’s coordination with healtheConnect (an HIE) will help ensure that the needs of the health care community are met while also improving overall public health. 

Dr. Quinn said: 

“The option [going with healtheConnect] that aligns with the values and purpose of Envoy is having a neutral partner that doesn’t monetize the data. It’s about making the information available to improve patient care, not creating profits.”

Changes to health care spending are on the horizon for Alaska. According to a Sellers Dorsey release on updated state budget summaries for the fiscal year of 2022, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy used a line-item veto to reduce the Alaska Medicaid Program by more than $17.1 million. It’s unclear which programs will be impacted.