Story last updated at 6/26/2013 - 1:42 pm
The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in conjunction with the Denali Commission are excited to announce the grand opening/dedication of the new SEARHC Kasaan clinic on Prince of Wales Island which happened Saturday, June 15.
The new clinic is a prototype "micro clinic" designed for communities with a full time population of under 100 residents. The clinic construction totaled over $1.86 million dollars through the efforts of combined funding from the Denali Commission, SEARHC, the Organized Village of Kasaan, and the Indian Health Service Tribal Equipment fund.
As part of the dedication, the new clinic was gifted to SEARHC who in turn, is leasing the land from the Organized Village of Kasaan. The celebration was well attended and consisted of a full day of festivities that included a Farmers Market, the Dedication and the Crab Festival.
This new 1,000 square foot clinic in Kasaan replaces the current clinic which is about 250 square feet and did not allow for gurney or stretcher access, storage, or a provider office; which severely limited patient privacy. Jon Wunrow, Project Manager for the Organized Village of Kasaan (OVK), also shared that the very small size of the old clinic did not allow for a mobile dental chair for itinerant dental care or for more than one person to be seen at a time when visiting specialists are in Kasaan. The new clinic remedies all of these issues allowing for better healthcare in the community.
The clinic design includes two exam rooms, one of which is fully equipped for dental care, a locked lab and pharmacy space, a provider office, a covered ambulance bay, can handle gurneys and stretchers, and is equipped for telemedicine. The clinic will also cost the community less to operate as it has been built with extreme energy efficiency in mind, utilizing air-to-air geothermal heat exchange which minimizes heating fuel costs and incorporates passive solar features and skylights for natural lighting.
"The Kasaan clinic is an excellent example of the unique abilities of the Denali Commission to work with an array of partners to design and construct a facility that best suits the needs of local communities," said Tessa Axelson, senior program manager with the Denali Commission.
"As a fourth generation resident of Kasaan, I have special pride in representing both the OVK and SEARHC at this historic time," said Fred Olsen, SEARHC board chairman.
"The SEARHC Board would like to thank the Denali Commission, the City of Kasaan, and the Organized Village of Kasaan for this beautiful clinic, "Ngiisdla Naay", Kasaan's Healing House. This is proof that with everyone working together, we can fulfill our mission to improve the health care of our Native people," Olsen said.