There’s something delightfully alluring about rare things. We value jewelry made from gems and metals hidden deep inside the earth. Watching our favorite musicians perform live is truly unforgettable. Traveling to the far corners of the earth can change your life forever.
But in medical care, scarcity often means increased cost, extensive wait times, and limited services offered. It’s also an unfortunate—but sadly necessary—the trade-off for living in one of America’s most beautiful states: Alaska. The Inside Passage may be a Northwest tourism destination but it’s facing a tremendous shortage of doctors and nurses.
With this in mind, many Alaskans come to the mainland for surgery. At Longview’s Pacific Surgical Center (PSC), they’re welcomed with open arms, talented surgeons, financial advisors, and five-star treatment. Whether seeking outpatient care for podiatry, urology, orthopedic, gastroenterology, or general surgery needs, PSC’s skilled staff can have Alaskans back on their feet in a flash.
The Kaiser Family Foundation shows that in 2018, there was a primary care health professional shortage with only 26% of Alaskan needs met. Other trends show little improvement in sight. “Alaska’s healthcare workforce is aging into retirement, and the state is struggling to replace providers fast enough to keep up with an increasing need for care. According to University of Alaska Anchorage’s College of Health, the state is projected to have the fifth largest nursing shortage in the nation by 2030, in part because of a so-called ‘Silver Tsunami’ in the state,” said regional news reports.
They go on to show how “A three-year report from the Alaska Commission on Aging states Alaska has the fastest-growing senior population in the nation. The Alaska Department of Labor estimates the state will have more than 10,000 new healthcare-related jobs to fill by 2026, a more than 20 percent increase since 2016.”
In the interim, it can be faster, easier, and cheaper to seek treatment while visiting (sometimes) sunny Washington State. At PSC, they work with your primary care physician, insurance company, and Medicare to address ongoing issues. Once patients arrive, surgery is scheduled on an outpatient basis with much of the lab work and imaging done on site. This reduces the number of extraneous visits, follow-up, and cost.
PSC promises to “provide you with the highest level of personalized attention and we’re totally focused on your individual needs. We customize our surgical care to be the most effective and appropriate for you, and then deliver it with compassion and dedication to help ensure you get the very best surgical outcomes.”
Don’t want to deal with insurance, preauthorization, and red tape? At PSC, skip it! Paying cash often costs less, overall, than your coinsurance responsibility otherwise. With clearly posted transparency pricing, shopping around for care means no sticker shock down the road. To learn more about their commitment to transparent pricing, call the financial services team directly at 360-442-7913.
Getting to and from PSC is never a problem. From March 2018 to February 2019, more than 1,000,000 people flew to Alaska through SeaTac airport. Alaska Airlines, which uses SeaTac as its centralized hub, transported more than 24 million passengers in 2018 alone.
Outpatient surgery centers like PSC are becoming more common nationwide. A list of key trends in ambulatory surgical centers shows that “As the government and payers scrutinize costs and push the shift to value-based care, outpatient surgery is expected to see an overall 11 percent increase from 2017 to 2022.”
Rightfully so. The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association reports that “Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are health care facilities that offer patients the convenience of having surgeries and procedures performed safely outside the hospital setting. Since their inception more than four decades ago, ASCs have demonstrated an exceptional ability to improve quality and customer service while simultaneously reducing costs. At a time when most developments in health care services and technology typically come with a higher price tag, ASCs stand out as an exception to the rule.”
Life in Alaska is unique. The stunning beauty and geographic remoteness make for picturesque landscapes. But transporting goods means costs are high and utilities like heat, electricity, and internet are even higher. Traveling to Washington for care, somewhat counterintuitively, saves money. It also means residents are fit and able to tackle the rigors and delights of America’s Last Frontier.
Before making the journey, read more about PSC’s Frequently Asked Questions, billing and insurance guidelines, and physician background. If it sounds like a good fit, go online and request a specialist or make an appointment by calling 360-442-7900.