In late January 2023, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation President and CEO Dan Winkelman announced, on behalf of the Board of Directors, several new facilities that will be completed by YKHC over the next few years. YKHC will be constructing five new village health clinics, including the expansion of an existing clinic; constructing approximately 120 units of new staff housing; doubling the size of our new supply warehouse; and constructing a new child care center for employees.
First, YKHC, with the help of the Denali Commission, Rasmuson Foundation and the U.S. Indian Health Service, began replacing village health clinics with new clinics about 30 years ago. More than 10 years ago, the Denali Commission stopped funding clinics but unfortunately YKHC still had many more that needed replacement. We have replaced several since then with various grant funds. At this rate, it will be more than a decade to finish the last five village health clinics. Therefore, YKHC will be using its own funds to construct these last five and a sixth clinic expansion. The last five villages that will be receiving a new village clinic are:
• Lime Village
• Stony River
A sixth village clinic will receive a much-needed clinic expansion in Kwigillingok.
Second, we are currently designing a new apartment complex that will have over 100 units. Unfortunately, almost every week we make offers to new employees that consistently turn us down because suitable housing in Bethel is not widely available. These new staff apartments will greatly help with recruitment and retention of new employees that will aid in us achieving our mission.
Third, we recently purchased a supply warehouse in Bethel. We are currently designing a much-needed expansion that will almost double its size. As you would expect, after almost tripling the size of our new hospital, our supply needs have greatly increased. It contains everything from personal protective equipment to everyday supplies to operate a hospital, skilled nursing facility, 5 sub-regional clinics, 41 village health clinics and numerous region wide services.
Lastly, we are designing a new child care center for YKHC employees. The lack of child care in Bethel is well known. A safe and high quality child care center will also help with recruitment and retention of new and current employees.
We will be communicating our progress, including construction timelines, in future editions of the quarterly Messenger, which is mailed to all box holders in the YK Delta and can be found online at https://www.ykhc.org/messenger/. These new, region wide construction projects represent an investment of over $100 million in critical health care infrastructure. YKHC is able to construct these new facilities due to our strong financial position. We are proud of our 58 member tribes, 1,500 employees and pleased our 30,000 customers will greatly benefit from these new facilities that will help improve health care delivery across the great Yukon-Kuskokwim region!