Staff shortage forces Alaska hospital to halt inpatient care for 2nd time

For the second time this spring, Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham, Alaska, has stopped accepting inpatients because of a workforce shortage.

The owner of the hospital, Dillingham-based Bristol Bay Area Health Corp., said in a news release that it began diverting patients needing acute inpatient medical care May 23 because of a shortage of hospitalists.

Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. said it expects to divert patients needing acute inpatient medical care to other Alaska hospitals through May 27.

"It is common practice for hospitals to divert to other facilities due to staffing shortages," the hospital's owner said in the release. "BBAHC's emergency department and outpatient clinic continue to be fully staffed by licensed and certified medical doctors and other clinicians."

Kanakanak Hospital also stopped accepting inpatients in April because of a staff shortage. That diversion period was about two weeks.

Cynthia Rogers, Bristol Bay Area Health's public information officer, told radio station KDLG the hospital's owner had secured a rotation of four hospitalists for May, but the hospital's workforce was recently disrupted by COVID-19 exposures.

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