The “Community Room” at Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The “Community Room” at Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

PCHS to pursue Nikiski expansion, moves to meet other community needs

PCHS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides access to health care to anyone in the community

To meet a variety of identified needs in the local communities, Peninsula Community Health Services is pursuing a number of expansions, Chief Executive Officer Ben Wright said Monday.

Wright said that PCHS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides access to health care to anyone in the community. They have roughly 40,000 patient visits each year. As part of their purpose, he said, they always have to be making moves — identifying needs and meeting them.

“As a nonprofit, if you stand still, you die,” he said.

Late last month, a federal appropriation of $500,000 directed to PCHS was among a swath of funding announcements by Sen. Lisa Murkowski. A release from her office said that money was secured to establish a facility to provide medical and behavioral health services in Nikiski.

Wright said there is need in that community for accessible care that’s located closer to the people who live there. He said there are people in Nikiski who make use of the resources that PCHS has to offer, but that they must travel farther than others to receive care.

“It’d be great if they had, in their backyard, a place to go where they could get mental health or medical, at least the initial treatment,” he said.

Those plans are still coalescing, he said, and PCHS is pursuing additional funding beyond the $500,000 secured by Murkowski.

“That’s a goal of ours,” he said. “For me, for our organization, to really take care of Nikiski.”

That’s only one of several moves PCHS is making this year, Wright said.

Next month, Wright said that physical therapy services will begin to be offered at their Soldotna location, where space is being refurbished and new equipment is being brought in. It follows other expansions of the service’s existing facilities like the 2022 opening of an eye clinic.

Other ways that PCHS is working to meet need, Wright said, include the recent opening of the “Community Room,” a large space that they make available to other nonprofit groups to hold meetings. The space has audio-visual equipment, restrooms and water. It fits a couple dozen just around its largest meeting table. He said that the space is available for free, and an application for use can be found on the service’s website.

PCHS has also completed the first steps on the path to opening its own PCHS Foundation to further pursue capital investment and improvement, Wright said.

For more information, visit pchsak.org.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

A plaque dedicates the “Community Room” to five people who played significant roles in the organization’s history at Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plaque dedicates the “Community Room” to five people who played significant roles in the organization’s history at Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The “Community Room” at Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The “Community Room” at Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The “Community Room” at Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The “Community Room” at Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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