Murkowski Bill to Improve Rural Health Passes Senate

Senator’s Land Conveyance Would Provide New Era of Better Health in Bethel

Senator Lisa Murkowski today was proud to see S.230, her legislation providing a land transfer of 23 acres in Bethel, pass the United States Senate unanimously. This bill would not only allow the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) to build a new primary care facility for the region, but also allow them to renovate the current facility and maximize the range of care provided.

“I thank my Senate colleagues for recognizing the importance of boosting healthcare in rural Alaska and I commend the leadership of the Yukon-Kuskokwim on their hard work to improve the delivery of health services to the region,” said Senator Murkowski.

Though YKHC had won a prestigious Indian Health Service Joint Venture Award to move forward with a health facility, it was hampered from finding additional funding because of uncertainty about permitting and land usage. Murkowski’s legislation will transfer title to 23 acres of Indian Health Service land in Bethel to YKHC, opening the door to financial arrangements that put shovels into the land and a 21st century facility on track.

Companion legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Don Young in the House of Representatives recently passed out of a committee and is under consideration by that body.