Having worked in the healthcare industry for almost 15 years, I bring comprehensive understanding of many healthcare issues facing Alaska.
It is vital that we work to ensure that all Alaskans have access to high quality affordable healthcare. Patients and their providers need to be able to make the decisions that are best for each individual without government or insurance companies dictating care. All patients, including those on Medicare, need to be informed about risks, benefits and costs of major medical treatments to prevent poor decision making that could have harmful medical and financial consequences. Healthcare reform should be patient centered and market based.
Prevention is the key to improving the health of Alaskans. Preventative measures include improvements to community water, sanitation, and housing standards, access to vaccines, tuberculosis screening, and other screening and treatment programs, and public education about obesity, domestic violence, and trauma prevention. We must continue to develop, implement, and fund statewide comprehensive health and education programs to address the devastating problem of alcohol and substance abuse, suicide, and child abuse and neglect. Telemedicine is also important to make care more accessible in rural areas of the state. We need to address the medical care needs of our growing elderly population through increasing use of home health care to prevent more expensive institutional care.
Alaska faces critical shortages of health care professionals in both rural and urban settings. This must be addressed now to avert a future crisis as it takes years to train medical personnel.