The Kodiak Community Health Clinic is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. The clinic is right near the front of the Providence Hospital’s main building and was developed to help people who don’t have insurance or are low income.
Carol Austerman has been the clinic’s CEO for the last five years, but has worked with the clinic for over a decade on its board of directors and other positions. While this year marks 20 years of serving patients, Austerman said it took years to get the clinic established.
“Around 1999, a group of local citizens came together because they realized that there wasn’t a place in Kodiak for people of low income, uninsured, homeless – people who have a little bit harder time accessing healthcare – there wasn’t a place in town for them to go,” she said.
They even partner with other providers in town like Providence Hospital staff just across the hall to ensure quality care for all their patients, regardless of their ability to pay.
Austerman said they held a public celebration earlier this month.
“We did a patient appreciation day and so all of our patients that came in got a little gift and we had some food out in the lobby for them,” she said.
Austerman said staff held a Business After Hours event with the Chamber of Commerce for a few dozen attendees in addition to employees.
The clinic even held a staff appreciation week.
“I am so proud to be associated with the people who work here,” she said. “It is just an amazing group of people and they all care so deeply about our patients and the community – it makes such a huge difference in the level of medical care that we provide.”
Austerman said they’re planning the next two decades for the clinic. They’re already in talks with the Kodiak Island Borough and partners at the hospital for what the community needs from them, what an expansion will look like, and how they can best serve the island.