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Delta Group to Open Clinic With Glennallen Nonprofit Partner; Next Goal: A Pharmacy

Interior Alaska Hospital Foundation

A two-year effort to improve medical care in Delta Junction got a big boost earlier this month in the form of a $400,000 grant that’ll enable the Interior Alaska Hospital Foundation to open a clinic by March. And now foundation members have launched a drive to raise at least $150,000 for a pharmacy they’d like to open along with the clinic.

The Delta-based hospital foundation has come a long way since it set out in 2011 to provide better health care for the area’s 6,000 residents. They've commissioned studies, lobbied lawmakers, and cajoled local businesspersons to donate 13 acres of land and build a 10-bed long-term care center for the elderly.

Foundation member Mary Kaspari she says the grant gives her organization a much-needed shot-in-the-arm for its next project: opening up a primary-care clinic in the ground floor of the long-term care facility.

“It’s a break – it’s a huge break in moving the project forward,” she said.  

Kaspari is a registered nurse and the driving force behind the campaign. About a year ago, she initiated a partnership with Glennallen-based Cross Road Medical Center, which will run the clinic.

Joel Medendorp is Cross Road’s president and CEO, and he says the faith-based nonprofit is planning to move aggressively to meet the deadline for opening the clinic and, soon thereafter, begin expanding services.

“The very first step it to get primary care services going,” Medendorp said. “And very quickly behind it we want to follow with lab, X-ray, pharmacy, urgent care.” 

Delta hasn’t ever had a pharmacy, and the grant won’t pay for one. So the hospital foundation is launching another drive to raise at least $150,000 to open a pharmacy. Kaspari says foundation members will be talking with representatives of big companies that operate in the area. And she says they’d welcome any donations from anyone who may be looking to give to a good cause – especially by the end of the tax year.

“Any type of donation coming to us is considered a tax deduction, because we’re in a nonprofit status with the IRS,” she said.

Kaspari knows firsthand about the area’s health-care needs. She worked for more than 10 years at the Family Medical Center, which for years has been Delta’s only health-care facility. But the privately run clinic offers only limited services and has been cutting back over the past year, reportedly due to a lack of business.

In March, the clinic reduced its operating hours and is now open only during weekday business hours.

Credit Cross Road Medical Center
The Cross Road Medical Center in Glennallen.

Both Medendorp and Kaspari disagree with those who suggest there’s not enough business for two clinics in the area, which sprawls roughly from the Canadian border to Paxson and north to Salcha.

Medendorp says because Cross Road already has administrative staff, it’ll be able to absorb many of the costs of launching the new Delta clinic – which will be called the Interior Alaska Medical Clinic. And he says those same economies of scale will benefit both clinics that Cross Road will be operating.

“Because we’re going to be more sustainable, we’re going to be able to do more for the Delta Junction area,” he said. “And because the Delta Junction is more sustainable, we’ll be able to do more for the Glennallen area.”

Editor's note: the Interior Alaska Hospital Foundation's website was under construction when this report was compiled; until it's complete, foundation members may be contacted by mail at Interior Alaska Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 671, Delta Junction AK 99737 or by calling 907.687.2028

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.