Feds transfer 23 acres to YKHC for hospital expansion

The U.S. House on Wednesday passed a bill to transfer 23 acres of federal land in Bethel to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.

“The question is will the House suspend the rules… and the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table,” the House Presiding Officer said.

The bill now goes to the president, who is expected to sign it.

YKHC wants to get title to the land from the Indian Health Service so it can expand the Bethel hospital. Even though the agency approved it, federal  land transfers require an act of Congress.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young have been working on it for years. Young spoke on the House floor Wednesday.

“This is a bill that should have been signed into law a lot sooner,” he said. “It will be done now, and we’ll be able to take and expand this hospital for my Alaska Natives.”

YKHC plans to build a primary care clinic attached to the existing hospital. It’s a $250 million project.