Anchorage's Medicare clinics need more patients

ANCHORAGE — When two clinics opened for Medicare patients in Anchorage last year, they were initially flooded with patients but demand has tapered off.

Providence Senior Care Center opened just about a year ago and the Alaska Medicare Clinic in south Anchorage opened in May to respond to a shortage of doctors willing to take Medicare patients.

Combined, the clinics have seen nearly 3,000 patients.

But that is far less than an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Anchorage Medicare recipients who were believed to be without a primary doctor last year.

Without more patients, the two clinics won’t break even, the Anchorage Daily News reported Monday.

Dr. George Rhyneer, a retired cardiologist who spearheaded the creation of the nonprofit Medicare clinic in South Anchorage, said he thinks a lot of specialists stepped in to treat patients for primary care needs — the flu, high blood pressure, diabetes — at a time when the patients couldn’t find regular family doctors. Many may be satisfied with that approach and stuck to it, Rhyneer said.

Rhyneer said the break-even point will be 45 patients a day.

The average so far is about 25, with 1,400 patients visiting the clinic so far.

Providence Senior Care Center was expecting as many as 5,000 patients the first year. The center has seen only 1,500, said Dr. Tom Hunt, director of physician services for Providence Alaska Medical Center.

Hunt said while immediate needs may have been met, he believes there is still need among seniors relying on federal medical insurance for their medical care.

The number of senior citizens in Alaska rose by 7 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the Alaska Commission on Aging.

Alaskans 60 and older are the fastest growing segment of the state’s population.

That group grew at a rate of 71 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to a commission report, from 53,026 people in 2000 to 90,876 in 2010.


Wed, 01/18/2017 - 00:04

Congressional delegation revs up for another ANWR fight

ANCHORAGE - Alaska's congressional delegation is hoping the 13th time will be the lucky one for legislation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and natural gas development. That's because - as he is quick to note - Rep. Read more
Wed, 01/18/2017 - 00:03

2 survive plane crash between villages in southwest Alaska

ANCHORAGE - Two people in a small airplane survived when they crashed on a flight between two southwest Alaska villages. Alaska State Troopers say a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the downed aircraft early Monday night. Read more
Wed, 01/18/2017 - 00:03

Man charged with manslaughter in hotel beating death

ANCHORAGE - A 23-year-old man has been charged with killing his mother's boyfriend at an Anchorage hotel. Elliot Myas is charged with manslaughter and felony assault in the death of the man, whose identity has not been released. Read more
Wed, 01/18/2017 - 00:03

Police seek man suspected of stealing car with child inside

ANCHORAGE - A warrant has been issued for a man suspected of stealing a car in Anchorage with a 3-year-old girl inside. Anchorage police are attempting to arrest 37-year-old Bruce Allen King on a felony warrant for vehicle theft. Read more


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback