Ketchikan Medical Center has won a three-year, $3 million grant from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The grant will go toward improving patient care coordination.
Michelle Budd, the hospital’s vice president for ambulatory services, said the grant is designed to help projects that provide innovative health care. Through the grant, Ketchikan Medical Center plans to hire new staff. Some of those employees will focus on patients with chronic diseases, who need help maintaining their health.
“The one part of the grant will fund care management positions for our Prince of Wales clinics, our pediatric clinic, and our primary care clinic, to improve overall health outcomes,” she said. “That will include things like improving people’s outcomes with diabetes, so that they are preventing further injury or illness due to diabetic complications. We’ll be working with patients that have chronic heart failure, and we’ll also be looking at children immunization rates.”
The grant also will support positions to coordinate preventative health care, such as regular checkups and recommended screenings.
“It would be mammography screenings for women that were eligible for that, colorectal screenings for men and women, to hopefully catch disease in an earlier state, or prevent it altogether,” she said.
Budd said the hospital was fortunate to be selected. She said 107 grants were awarded, with winners picked from about 3,000 applicants.
“We feel very, very fortunate,” she said. “We had a very good team working on this. This definitely was a team effort. Ken Tonjes, our CFO, Karen Wolfred, one of our grant writers – our primary grant writer for Ketchikan Medical Center – were very actively working with me on this grant. We call it the three-legged stool. We couldn’t have accomplished it without all three of us.”
Budd said the grant funding will mean about eight new jobs in Ketchikan and on Prince of Wales Island.