Alaska’s draft state health improvement plan open for public comment

The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) are seeking public comment on the new draft state health improvement plan.

The draft plan, Healthy Alaskans 2030, outlines data-driven goals to improve the health of Alaskans. The draft features 15 priority health topics, 30 health objectives, and target goals for each objective to be reached by 2030. The priority heath topics cover a range of issues including substance misuse, mental health, environmental health, social determinants of health, and violence prevention.



Health care access has the most individual health objectives and includes:

  • Increase the proportion of women who receive prenatal care beginning in the first trimester.
  • Reduce the percentage of adults (aged 18 years and older) reporting that they could not afford to see a doctor in the last 12 months
  • Reduce the rate of preventable hospitalizations per 1,000 adults (hospitalizations that could have been prevented with high quality primary and preventive care) based on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) definition
  • Increase the percentage of 3-year-olds who have had a well-child checkup in the last 12 months
  • Reduce the percentage of the population without health insurance

Each individual objective also includes evidence-based strategies, specific actions, target measures, timeframes, and key partners to look to as the state moves to achieve each goal.

For example, under the “increase the proportion of women who receive prenatal care beginning in the first trimester” objective, one strategy is to increase the number of women who have access to health care providers to support them. An action identified to achieve this goal is to reduce the time it takes to confirm Medicaid eligibility to ensure access to prenatal care within the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy.

Under that same objective, the plan recommends improving the system of services that care for women with addictions. An action under this strategy is to “Promote access to medication assisted treatment, mental health services, case management, and family planning for all pregnant individuals and families affected by substances.”  The plan lists DHSS divisions, the Mat-Su Opioid Task Force, and the AKPQC/Substance-Exposed Newborns Initiative as partners for this action.

The full, 94-page report is available here.

“What helps this plan succeed is engagement and commitment from as many Alaskans as possible,” said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. “Whether you’re an individual, a community leader, a business owner or in the health care field – no matter what your role – we encourage you to read this plan, make comments and take steps to improve your own health and the health of our communities.”

The plan is open for public comment until Sept. 2, 2020, at 5pm on the State of Alaska Public Notice website.