The Girdwood Clinic is Something to Crow About | Glacier City Gazette
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The Girdwood Clinic is Something to Crow About

The Girdwood Clinic is Something to Crow About

Girdwood Health Clinic Board of Directors

Girdwood Health Clinic, Inc. (the Clinic) has good news to share with the community.

  • The Clinic passed its federal on-site inspection with flying colors.
  • Services to the community are expanding.
  • Clinical staff has grown to meet its expanding services.
  • Patient visits are up.
  • The Clinic has been meeting and exceeding its financial goals.
  • The Clinic is in the planning stages of building a new building, large enough to expand services even further

Since 2003, health care services in Girdwood have been located at the corner of Lindblad Ave. and Hightower Rd. across from the post office. In 2012, Girdwood Health Clinic Inc., a non-profit corporation run by a patient-majority board of directors purchased the Girdwood Clinic from its founder, Kerry Dorius. The Clinic paid off the purchase price in 2018.

Last September the Clinic went through a rigorous three-day audit by three federal health care facility auditors. At the inspection’s end, auditors reported there were “no findings” that had to be corrected. That is remarkable! Of the 1,400 audits performed nationwide only 41 concluded with “no findings.” The Clinic scored in the top three percent nationwide. As a result, the Clinic will have its grants extended to three years instead of having to apply every year.

Currently, the Clinic provides primary care services, acute care, preventive and wellness care, behavioral health care, nurse case management and free eligibility assistance for the Marketplace, Medicaid and Medicare services. The Clinic is available to all and bills on a sliding scale so that no one is denied services because of inability to pay.

The Clinic has expanded its services, offering substance abuse and behavioral health services. The Clinic collaborates closely with other local healthcare entities such as Seawolf Physical Therapy, Alpine Apothecary and the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

The Clinic currently employs five clinical providers, which allows patients plenty of choice. Current staff is Dr. Erin Lester, Family Practice Physician who also serves as the Clinic’s Medical Director; Shoshannah Kinsler, Family Nurse Practitioner; Jennifer Swift, Family Nurse Practitioner; Riley Vockner Physician Assistant; and Tracey Wiese, a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

Our numbers of patient visits have been increasing steadily over time. Patient visits increased by 27% from 2017 to 2018. Financially, the Clinic enjoyed a 13% growth in patient income over its budget projections for 2018. At the same time, the clinic has been able to build up its financial reserves to fully cover its operation for up to 80 days.

The Clinic has taken its first steps to meet a long-term goal, to occupy a high performing sustainable facility that fully meets community needs. Currently, the Clinic building is at maximum capacity. The Clinic received a $14,700 grant from the Mental Health Trust for predevelopment work, The Clinic is working closely with the owners of the current location (Turnagain Arm Health Center, Inc.) to develop a plan for a new facility. The Clinic is considering constructing a new facility of up to 6,000 sq. ft. located either on its current site or on a new site along Karolius Drive. The Clinic has engaged a design professional to shepherd it through the predevelopment phase.

Kathy Trautner, Chairman of the Clinic’s Board of Directors is happy to crow about the Clinic. “I am so proud of how our clinic has grown and expanded our services to meet our community’s needs, but also how professional and friendly our staff is. Much has been accomplished under the leadership of the executive Director of the Clinic, Tawny Buck, and there is so much more to come.”