Murkowski Bill to Improve Southeast Rural Health Passes Senate

Land Conveyance Would Progress Efforts to Expand Health and Social Services

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski praised the Senate’s passage of her legislation, the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Land Transfer Act of 2017, which  provides a land transfer of 19.07 acres in Sitka. S. 825, co-sponsored by Senator Sullivan, allows for much needed expansions by Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) at the Mt. Edgecumbe Sitka Campus. These extensions would enhance the level of healthcare services available to Southeast Alaska by providing a future site for new primary care and acute care facility space, as well as much needed staff housing.

“I thank my colleagues in the Indian Affairs Committee and the rest of the Senate for recognizing the need to support and expand access to healthcare in rural Alaska,” said Senator Murkowski. “SEARHC is working hard to provide southeast Alaskans throughout the region with the most advanced healthcare opportunities possible and it was my honor to help them in their efforts.”

“Senator Murkowski and I worked hard to pass legislation allowing the transfer of land in Sitka to SEARHC so they can move forward with their expansion project, said Senator Sullivan. “This is great news for the people in the entire southeast region, whose healthcare needs will ultimately be better served. I will continue to support SEARHC as they advance and work with Alaskans and our congressional delegation to improve healthcare across the state.”

“We are sincerely grateful to Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan for their time, hard work and focus in getting S. 825 passed,” said SEARHC President and CEO Charles Clement. “Alaska is truly privileged to have such tireless advocates in Washington, D.C. working on behalf of rural Alaska and Tribal health. With the passage of this bill, SEARHC can expand services and improve access to healthcare throughout all Southeast Alaska.”

The land transfer will give SEARHC more leverage and oversight of the property while seeking expansion opportunities.  SEARHC is currently managing and maintaining the land that will be transferred in the bill.

Congressman Don Young also introduced companion legislation [H.R. 1901] in the House of Representatives currently under consideration by that body. S. 825 will be sent to the House for consideration as well. 

Related Issues: Alaska Natives & Rural Alaska, Health