FAIRBANKS – The Interior Delegation sent a joint letter to the City of Fairbanks and the Fairbanks North Star Borough encouraging officials to use federal dollars allocated to local governments to help Foundation Health Partners (FHP) cover costs incurred during the COVID-19 emergency.
FHP operates Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Tanana Valley Clinic, and Denali Center, which collectively employs 1,960 people – 7 percent of the Fairbanks workforce – and played a significant role in keeping Interior residents healthy during the pandemic.
The organization spent what was necessary during the height of the crisis, even at a time when state mandates required hospitals to halt all non-emergent and elective procedures, a key revenue source. COVID-19 preparedness cost FHP $9 million per month from March to June for a total of $35 million. Only $13.1 million in state and federal funds was provided to cover the funding gap, in large part because a federal rule preventing FMH from receiving funds that most other Alaska hospitals received.
“Our community has been impacted by COVID-19, but without Foundation Health Partners system-wide leadership and quick response to protect our residents, the health crisis could have escalated,” the lawmakers wrote in their June 8 letter. “We know that we have not seen the last of the COVID pandemic and that the need for our hospital services will continue. We encourage you to provide financial assistance to Foundation Health Partners.”
Reps. Adam Wool, Grier Hopkins, Bart LeBon, Mike Prax, Dave Talerico, Steve Thompson, and Sens. John Coghill, Scott Kawasaki, and Click Bishop all signed the letter.
Office of Representative Adam Wool