In 1995, a small cohort of clinic administrators and clinicians visualized an organization that would advocate and work towards ensuring every Alaskan had access to basic health care. They hoped that, despite geographic, financial, and cultural barriers, medical underservice would be a thing of the past. That organization became the non-profit, Alaska Primary Care Association which advocates for health policy for Alaskans, provides technical training and assistance to Community Health Centers, and teaches and supports the rising generation of Community Health Workers.
Alaska’s network of safety-net providers provides high quality primary care services to more than 100,000 Alaskans. Twenty-nine organizations employ over twenty-six hundred people and operate more than two hundred clinic sites across the state. These numbers continue to grow rapidly but do not take into account safety-net providers who provide their services without the benefit of stable federal funding.
While Alaska Primary Care Association (APCA) is not a medical facility. APCA is an organization with the mission to create healthy communities in Alaska through the support of vibrant and effective Community Health Centers. APCA works with Alaska’s Health Centers and many partners to promote, expand, and optimize access to primary care for Alaskans.
Since its founding over twenty-five years ago, APCA has grown to serve twenty-nine Federally Qualified Health Centers and Look-Alikes in addition to safety-net providers, and stakeholders across the state of Alaska. APCA’s nearly eight million dollar operating budget allows APCA to provide a broad range of member services such as technical assistance, policy surveillance and dissemination, health policy education and analysis, group purchasing benefits, and healthcare education. APCA’s operational costs are supported by HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care, member dues, and other grants and contracts.
APCA created a mutually supportive community of providers and stakeholders who work together to reach their goals. APCA has an eye to the future. Leadership watches trends across the country and creates initiatives for the betterment of Alaskan healthcare. Some initiatives they are currently working towards includes:
– Strengthening Alaska’s Community Healthcare Workforce post-COVID;
– Emphasizing the importance of behavioral health and founding a cohort to support behavioral health across Alaska; and
– Encouraging whole person care, value over volume based care, and integration.
Alaskan healthcare providers have many struggles, and with the help of APCA they can overcome some of those struggles. APCA provides a variety of services and technical assistance to support members in offering quality, cost-effective care, and to operate more efficiently. Further, APCA assists members in securing federal grant funds. The goal is that Community Health Centers can provide care to Alaskans for less.
APCA pursues the mission by focusing on the following areas:
– Strengthen relationships with Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) representatives; – Provide and promote effective and meaningful communication among Community Health Centers and the PCA; – Information and policy surveillance and dissemination; and – Board governance as strategy.
APCA’s core values and principles for operation and service include:
– Collaboration and teamwork; – Continued respect for others including their time, talents, and efforts; – Added value; – Conducting ourselves with integrity, respect, and accountability; – Remembering that our success equates to CHC success; – Demonstrating respect for each other, inclusiveness, support for each other, and equitable participation; – Responsive and transparent action; – Promotion of trust-based relationships; – Valuing empirical data such as measurement and evaluation as evidence of success; – Promotion of excellence and efficiency; – Speaking on behalf of CHCs’ mission and purpose; – Kindness and compassion in our work; – Effective work; – Continued adaptation and seeking opportunities to learn; and – Embracing diversity.