Anchorage hospitals appeal state’s ER bed cap

Entrance to Anchorage's Providence Hospital emergency room. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)
Entrance to Anchorage’s Providence Hospital emergency room. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)

Anchorage’s two largest hospitals are appealing the state’s recent allocation decisions in hopes of building more emergency room beds in the next several years.

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The Alaska Dispatch News reports that Providence Alaska Medical Center and Alaska Regional Hospital have both filed appeals accusing the Department of Health and Human Services of making groundless assumptions about costs and the best interests of the public.

Too many emergency room beds can push up health care costs, so Alaska, like most states, has laws limiting the capacity of emergency rooms. In July, Providence Alaska received permission to add eight beds, six fewer than it requested. Alaska Regional’s proposal to add two freestanding Emergency Rooms in South Anchorage and Eagle River was denied, in an effort to prevent unnecessary ER costs.

The appeals will be heard by an administrative law judge, who will make a recommendation the state’s health commissioner.