Bartlett impacted by drug problem

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Bartlett hospital board and the CBJ Assembly recently held a joint board meeting to discuss health care issues in the community.

    The joint meeting also focused on drug treatment in the community.

    The Assembly recently approved $700,000 to add onto the Rainforest Recovery Center.  It is a $2.5 million project.

    Chief Behavioral health officer Bradley Grigg said the center is a plus to the community, "This is an essential piece to what we do in the community.  To be able to add a detox facility, and a one stop shop for whatever they need is great.  Were excited about this and the voters passed it."
    The hospital finances have been helped by renewal of the small hospital demonstration project which provided $3.5 million.

    Grigg said they plan to open the new center by next summer, "Were in the design process now.  We anticipate construction in late spring, early summer of 2019.  Weather, work force, and getting supplies here will be factors in when we start."

    The hospital currently has 57 beds with 12 for mental health patients.  They employ 591 people and have 232 doctors on staff or
    as consultants

    Grigg added that the hospital and the community have both been greatly impacted by the opioid epidemic, "We see it everyday, we see it in every social class, every race, every gender, every age, it comes through emergency, surgical unit, the mental health unit, it shows no bounds.  Every part of our hospital sees this.  We see the impact at a high level."

    Grigg said a suboxone clinic has worked well in fighting the drug problem. 

    The hospital treated over 2500 patients last year.  They also delivered 350 babies.  They had over 15,300  visits to the emergency room and performed over 28 hundred surgeries.

    25 of the nurses on staff were educated by the University of Alaska system.

    Both the Alaska house and Senate have shown strong support for a measure to create criminal charges if a health care worker is assaulted
    This would allow police to arrest suspects for assault in the fourth degree even if they don't witness the incident and protects health care workers like
    firemen, paramedics, and police officers

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