Medical Department Activity-Alaska provides medical care to over 21,000 beneficiaries throughout the state of Alaska.
Headquarters for the organization, located in Fort. Wainwright, is at Bassett Army Community Hospital where the majority of beneficiary health care is provided. Additional services are offered at Kamish Army Medical Home and the outlying clinics of Fort Greely Army Medical Home. Located in Delta Junction, Alaska and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Medical Home in Anchorage, Alaska.
While temperatures regularly dip to -40 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter, and snow remains on the ground for nine months out of the year, weather is only one part of making Alaska an austere environment in which to provide medical care. Being geographically isolated from many critical care assets provides additional challenges for leadership and staff to overcome.
To provide care in such an austere environment, MEDDAC-AK has implemented several initiatives, pilot programs and partnerships to ensure the highest level of care possible for our beneficiaries.
Tele-Behavioral Health – Leveraging assets at Tripler Army Medical Center and Madigan Army Medical Center for telehealth have been a constant at MEDDAC-AK for its patients. By working closely with behavioral health providers at locations with access, Bassett is able to offer the necessary support for patients in a timely manner, and the feedback from patients receiving tele-behavioral health, remains positive.
Boo to the Flu – Community events during the harsh winter months not only serve to provide a morale boost to staff members and a strong sense of belonging to patients, but improve community health outreach. In interior Alaska, where there is always snow on the ground for Halloween, instead of bundling up the kids, families flock to Bassett for indoor trick-or-treating and their annual flu vaccination. With more than 2,000 people through the door during the two-hour event, it is a highlight during the winter for both staff and community members.
Virtual Personal Health Assessments (PHA) – MEDDAC-AK currently serves as a pilot site for Virtual PHAs. Soldiers from Fort Wainwright meet virtually with providers from Fort Greely AMH in order to meet demand, improve readiness and create additional access to care.
Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) – While not unique to MEDDAC-AK, the EFMP is a robust piece of ensuring the team is able to provide care to Soldiers and their family members. The EFMP team works diligently to review medical histories of potential incoming Soldiers and family members to confirm Bassett has any specialty care services needed either on-postor in the private sector before approving command sponsorship. The team is preemptive to confirming Soldiers and family members are not assigned to Fort Wainwright if they have conditions that exceed the facility’s capabilities.
The harsh Alaska environment requires strong community partnerships with both military and private entities throughout the state to ensure the highest level of care to its patients. Bassett ACH works closely with civilian hospitals - Fairbanks Memorial Hospital locally and Providence Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Most notably, a solid partnership has been built with other federal entities across the state through the Alaska Federal Health Care Partnership, which includes the Indian Health Service, Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and the Coast Guard. These partnerships provide resource sharing in the realm of advanced training, supply chain management and patient care, saving tax payer dollars as well as offering patients care closer to home and in a timely manner.
While these partnerships benefit MEDDAC-AK first-hand, in turn, the teamprovides benefits to its partners. The Bassett Medical Warehouse not only serves those within its footprint, but also serves as a distribution point for more than 30 remote Alaska villages to provide medical supplies to village health clinics in remote locations accessible only by plane or boat.