ANTHC travel coordination improves the patient experience for Annette Island Service Unit

April 7, 2017

Photo caption: Annette Island Service Unit (AISU) leadership and ANTHC patient experience met on March 31 during a visit to the Metlakatla Indian Community in southeast Alaska. Pictured from left to right, Melody Leask, AISU Medical Records Director; Lisa Allen, RN, AISU Director of Nursing; Carol Dunn-Hale, ANTHC Manager of Travel Management Office; Tammy Philemonof, ANTHC Supervisor of Customer Service; Allison Knox, ANTHC Vice President of Customer Experience; Rachael Askren, AISU Service Unit Director; Amanda Dauti, ANTHC SR. Patient Travel Coordinator; Shawn Wagner, AISU Director, Patient Travel; Cindy Williams, AISU Medicaid Patient Travel; and Laurel Hayward, Referral Coordinator, AISU Patient Travel.

For more than 60 percent of patients receiving care at the Alaska Native Medical Center, their journey to health begins with travel from their home communities to Anchorage. The trip to Anchorage from statewide locations often requires extensive coordination between patients, providers, patient escorts and staff at our Tribal health partner organizations. For residents of the Metlakatla Indian Community on Annette Island, 15 miles southwest of Ketchikan, the trip is 900 air miles and coordinated with the help of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Travel Management Office.

ANTHC Travel Management Office and ANMC Customer Experience representatives had an opportunity to meet with leadership from Annette Island Service Unit (AISU) on Friday, March 31. The AISU provides health care services for approximately 1,800 Alaska Native and American Indian people, as well as community residents, from the Metlakatla Indian Community.

The meeting provided an opportunity for ANTHC and AISU to discuss opportunities for improving travel coordination, escort arrangements and appointment consolidation for people traveling from Metlakatla to Anchorage for care at ANMC.

“Both AISU and ANTHC are extremely committed to providing the best care for the people we serve. As we enhance specialty and acute care services and access to care, we continually look for opportunities to have open dialogue with our Tribal health organization partners to discuss how we can improve upon the travel coordination, housing and patient experience at ANMC for our customers and patients,” said Allison Knox, ANTHC Vice President of Customer Experience. “These meetings provide us a better understanding of the hardships travel presents our patients as well as time to collectively discuss ongoing enhancements and improvements.”

Since ANTHC opened the expanded Travel Management Office in July 2016, ANTHC travel and customer experience representatives have been meeting with Tribal health organization travel partners to continue to improve service. If you are interested in a site visit or meeting, please contact Allison Knox, VP of Customer Experience, at or (907) 729-1939 or Carol Dunn-Hale, Manager of Travel Management Office, at or (907) 729-2407.

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