Alaska Native Medical Center is the third hospital to move to crisis standards of care

The Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. (Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)

The Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage said Friday it has begun operating under crisis standards of care.

ANMC is the third hospital in the state to move to crisis operations, which allow doctors to prioritize resources and treatments to patients who have the greatest potential to benefit. Providence Alaska Medical Center and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation are also operating under crisis standards.

ANMC Administrator Bob Onders said the standards don’t affect who is getting care or supplies like oxygen or dialysis machines at this point.

“We’re not in that place right now,” he said. “Right now, from our standpoint, the crisis standards of care more allow for flexibility so that we can maintain clinical care.”

Onders said the standards allow the hospital flexibility with certain normal operating rules and the state’s crisis standards relax ANMC’s liability.

He said the hospital had been moving toward this point for weeks.

“We have been working, I’d say, at contingency levels for a prolonged period of time. And as you work in that contingency area, you’re always at risk of having to make decisions that you would make outside of normal operation,” he said.

Onders said that while the current crisis standards won’t affect the care that anyone is getting, that could change if hospitalizations keep rising.

The news comes as ANMC welcomed dozens of new medical workers and support staff, including a 35-person FEMA team based in Massachusetts.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

Read next

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications