SEARHC Haines Health Center certified for FESC services

November 09 2010

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently certified the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Haines Health Center as a Frontier Extended Stay Clinic (FESC). The Haines Health Center is the third clinic in the nation to be certified as a FESC. The two other FESC-certified clinics — the Inter Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor, Wash. (the first to win certification) and Iliuliuk Family and Health Services Inc. in Unalaska — are part of the SEARHC-managed Alaska FESC Consortium, http://www.alaskafesc.org. In addition to the Haines Health Center, SEARHC also has a FESC at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock, which expects to be certified in the near future. According to federal guidelines, a FESC is a clinic located in a community where the closest short-term acute care hospital or critical access hospital is at least 75 miles away from the community or is inaccessible by public road. A FESC addresses the needs of seriously or critically ill or injured patients who cannot be medevacked to acute care referral centers because of adverse weather conditions, darkness or other reasons. The FESC gives patients a comfortable place to stay while they wait for the medevac. A FESC also is for patients who need monitoring or observation for a limited period of time, for example when a patient needs to be rehydrated. Monitoring and observation services at the FESC allow patients to stay in their home community for treatment instead of being transferred to an acute care facility. CMS is conducting a demonstration of the FESC model for the next three years, and certification marks the official start of the demonstration. Before receiving certification, clinics are required to provide documentation that they meet stringent quality standards established by CMS. “By achieving certification, the SEARHC Haines Health Center demonstrates its commitment to quality and patient satisfaction,” SEARHC FESC Program Manager Patricia Atkinson said. “SEARHC believes that patients are happiest when they can safely be cared for in their home communities, avoiding the risk, expense and discomfort of a medevac. We expect to work closely with CMS and the other certified FESC clinics over the next few years to further refine this exciting new model of care.”