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DH&SS approves project to replace Mat-Su Valley hospital


November 20, 2003
Thursday - 12:55 am

Joel Gilbertson, Alaska Commissioner of Health & Social Services, on Wednesday approved a "Certificate of Need" request by the Valley Hospital Association to build a 160,723 sq. ft, 74-bed acute care hospital in Palmer. Construction on the new Mat-Su Valley Medical Center will begin in the spring of 2004; the $83.7 million project should be completed by the end of 2008.

"The department acknowledges the growth of the Mat-Su area, and the needs in the area justify this decision," Gilbertson said. "We will continue to work, in a fiscally responsible manner, to expand access to care for all Alaska residents. The approval of this facility's Certificate of Need is part of that effort."

The Certificate of Need was approved with the condition that shelled-in space on the third floor shall only be used for additional medical surgical beds unless another Certificate of Need approves a different use of the space; and laboratory services of the cardiac catheterization lab must meet state utilization standards.

Under the approved Certificate of Need, Valley Hospital Association proposes to build a new 3-story 74-bed facility as a replacement to the existing 40-bed Palmer facility. The new facility will be located at the intersection of the Parks and Glenn Highways on a 25-30 acre site, and will have a 14-bed Intensive Care Unit, a 50-bed Medical/Surgical unit, a 10-bed Obstetrics unit, and one new operating room. The existing Urgent Care Center currently located at the West Valley Medical Center will close and the services will be integrated into the Emergency Department at the new hospital. The Intensive Care Unit will be increased by 4 beds, and the Progressive Care Unit will increase by 4 beds. Administrative offices will be added to the West Valley Medical Center, allowing administrative staff to move out of leased space on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway.

The Certificate of Need (CON) program is a review process used by the State of Alaska, to promote responsive health facility and service development, rational planning, and cost containment. Project reviews help ensure that proposed services will be of good quality, acceptable to the public, promote access and choice, and will meet the public need while preventing excessive, unnecessary, or duplicative development of facilities or services. "In FY 2003, the State of Alaska paid $767 million through Medicaid for health care services," Gilbertson said. "Of that amount, $245 million was paid out to health care facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes that are covered by the Certificate of Need program." Gilbertson said that there is a growing need to provide health care services to an expanding population with limited State General Funds. "At the end of the day we must ensure that new and expanded services are planned properly to get the highest quality and most appropriate services possible for Alaskans, at the best price. The Certificate of Need program is a vital part of that process," he said.



Certificate of Need program

Certificate of Need program, FAQ

Source of News Release:

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services
Web Site


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