Tanana Chiefs Conference opens expansion to Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After years of planning and construction, an extension to the Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center (CAIHC) had a grand opening ceremony on the morning of Tuesday, July 19.
In 2012, the CAIHC opened, providing health services to Alaska Natives and American Indians.
The facility is operated by the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC). According to TCC Chief and Chairman Brian Ridley, “We cover almost 20,000 patients, not only here, but in the rural areas.”
With a blessing ceremony, the newly constructed building next door to the center is officially open for qualified Indian Health Service beneficiaries.
The ceremony included a raising of the flag and the distribution of earth from a box buried when the first building was opened.
Patients who live in rural areas of the state and who are in need of medical or dental care will now have a new option for treatment. “Our elders, when they come into town, oftentimes they have to go to Anchorage or Seattle,” Ridley said. “We’re trying to keep the care closer to home.”
Overall, the project cost a little over $100 million. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, construction was completed on time and under budget. Ridley explained, “It was a balance of an incredibly designed facility with trying to do some value engineering to keep costs down.”
With this new facility come services previously unavailable onsite, including ophthalmology, audiology, and hematology. “We’re able to take on more of the services that we’ve had to traditionally contract out,” Ridley said.
The center expects to add cancer care to the list of services offered later in the year, and Ridley said the CAIHC has room to grow in the future. “The entire third floor is shell space aside from the mechanical room, so we’ve got about 15,000 square feet that covers us for future expansion.”
The new facility is expected to accommodate TCC’s needs through 2030.
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