Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), a fully accredited JCAHO (Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) organization, administers a comprehensive health care delivery system for over 50 rural communities in Southwest Alaska.

The YKHC system consists of a primary facility in Bethel and five sub-regional clinics in Aniak, Emmonak, Hooper Bay, St. Mary's and Toksook Bay. This system offers inpatient services at the Bethel hospital, primary care, specialty services, pediatric care, emergency services, behavioral health counseling and treatment services, dental and optometry clinics, home care services, specialized programs for people living with diabetes, tobacco cessation, and many outreach/education programs to promote healthy living.

Additionally, the Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) provides village-based primary health care in 47 village clinics in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
The Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta is one of the largest river deltas in the world, roughly the size of Oregon. It is located where the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers empty into the Bering Sea on the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. The delta, which mostly consists of tundra, is protected as part of the...

, including acute, chronic and emergency care, preventative services, and health promotion disease prevention activities to individuals, families, and their communities.

Location and climate

Roughly the size of Oregon, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
The Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta is one of the largest river deltas in the world, roughly the size of Oregon. It is located where the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers empty into the Bering Sea on the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. The delta, which mostly consists of tundra, is protected as part of the...

, or Y-K Delta, covers 75000 square miles (194,249.1 km²) in the southwestern corner of Alaska. It is located where the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers empty into the Bering Sea
Bering Sea
The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

 on the west coast of Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. The delta, which mostly consists of tundra, is protected as part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge is a United States National Wildlife Refuge covering about in southwestern Alaska. It is the second-largest National Wildlife Refuge in the country, only slightly smaller than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It is a coastal plain extending to the...


Bethel – Within the heart of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta lays Bethel, a hub community for 56 surrounding villages, the gateway to the Yukon Delta, and home to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. Roughly 400 miles (643.7 km) west of Anchorage, Bethel is charged by a maritime climate that averages 65–70°F during the summer months, and a winter mean of 11 °F.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation also has five strategically placed sub-regional clinics that can provide many of the same services found at the Bethel Hospital site. The clinics are located in:

Aniak – Located on the south bank of the Kuskokwim River and at the head of the Aniak Slough, 92 miles (148.1 km) northeast of Bethel, the town is named in reference to the mouth of the Aniak River, literally meaning “the place where it comes out.” Summer temperatures can reach as high as 87 °F, while rainfall averages 19” annually and winter can bring an average snowfall of up to 60 inches (1.5 m).

Emmonak – Only 10 miles (16.1 km) from the Bering Sea, Emmonak sits on the north bank of the Kwiguk Pass at the mouth of the Yukon River. The local economy is driven primarily by commercial salmon fishing. Primarily a Yup’ik village, Emmonak experiences annual temperatures that range from -25 to 79 °F, with 19 inches (482.6 mm) of annual rainfall and up to 60 inches (1.5 m) of snowfall.

Hooper Bay – The westernmost sub-regional clinic, Hooper Bay clinic rests 152 miles (244.6 km) west of Bethel on the slopes of gentle rolling hills that give way to graceful lowlands. Hooper Bay experiences snowfall annually at 75”, average rainfall at 16”, and temperatures that range from -25-79 °F.

St. Mary’s – Serving two cities, St. Mary’s sub-regional clinic offers residents of both the namesake city and Andreafsky the wide range of services and treatments the predominately Yup’ik community relies on throughout the year. This clinic is located just 5 miles (8 km) from the confluence of the Yukon and Andreafsky Rivers and 100 miles (160.9 km) northwest of Bethel. The climate has a significant maritime influence, with temperatures ranging between -44 and 83 °F. Annual precipitation measures 16 inches (406.4 mm), with 60 inches (1.5 m) of snowfall.

Toksook Bay – YKHC’s only sub-regional clinic not on the mainland, the Toksook Bay clinic is located on the picturesque Nelson Island of 33 square miles (85.5 km²), 115 miles (185.1 km) northwest of Bethel. This traditional Yup’ik community experiences fewer temperature extremes while remaining cooler year-round. Summers range from 41-57 °F and winter floats between 6-26 °F.

Philosophy/Leadership/Cultural Values

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is a Tribal Organization authorized by each of the 58 federally recognized Tribal councils in its service area to negotiate with the Federal Indian Health Service to provide health care services under Title III of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975.

YKHC, along with 12 other Tribal Organizations, is a co-signer to the Alaska Tribal Health Compact, a consortium which secures annual funding agreements with the federal government to provide health care services to Alaska Natives and Native Americans throughout the state.

With a strong commitment to the well-being of patients and stakeholders alike, YKHC draws inspiration from its corporate Mission, Vision, and Values as well as annual goals that uphold the Napartet Pillars.

Mission: Working Together to Achieve Excellent Health

Vision: Through Native self-determination and culturally relevant health systems, we strive to be the healthiest people.

Values: Optimism, Compassion, Trust, Personal Growth, Pursuit of Excellence, Elder Knowledge, Importance of Family.

Napartet Pillars, taken from the Yup’ik word meaning “something that upholds a structure,” these pillars are the beliefs on which YKHC was founded. The Pillars include:
  • Patient Centered Excellence
  • Employee Focus
  • Alaska Native Workforce Development
  • Community & Partner Satisfaction
  • Financial Viability


Formed by a focused group of tribal leaders and representatives from 48 villages of the Y-K Delta, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation was born from a vision of retaining more control over the provision of health care services and improving the retention of passionate providers.

Incorporated one year after its formation, in 1969, YKHC’s roots date back to the inception of the Indian Health Service in 1955. YKHC has grown to become the largest employer in the Y-K Delta.

Key Dates:
  • 1907 – The U.S. Bureau of Education began employing Physicians and Nurses in rural Alaskan Hospitals and Dispensaries
  • 1969 – Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is founded
  • 1970 – YKHC leases 16 buildings in Bethel for YKHC employees
  • 1978 – Beginning of Otitis Media Program to help diagnose and treat ear problems
  • 1979 – Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical Services began
  • 1995 – Opened Aniak Sub-Regional Clinic
  • 1996 – Opened Delta Supportive Living Facility
  • 1997 – Opening of Pitka’s Point Village Clinic, Aeromed International and YKHC’s Travel Management Center
  • 1998 – Opening of Transitional Living Facility, and Tuluksak and Napakiak Village Clinics
  • 1999 – Opened Crisis Respite Center and Family Hostel (Qarartarvik); Began Village-to-Bethel Medevacs
  • 2000 – JCAHO accreditation received; New Clinics in Lower Kalskag, Alakanuk, Holy Cross, and Crooked Creek completed
  • 2001 – Opening of Emmonak, Kwigillingok and St. Mary’s Sub-Regional Clinics, Delta Immediate Care Clinic, Pediatric Specialty Clinic; McCann Treatment Center opens to treat inhalant abuse
  • 2003 – Opened eight new Village Clinics
  • 2005 – Opened Toksook Bay Sub-Regional Clinic and eight new Village Clinics
  • 2009 – YKHC Research Trial to study vaccine against Pneumococcal Disease in children begins
  • 2009 – Opened Hooper Bay Sub-Regional Clinic


A complete health system, YKHC consists of the primary facility in Bethel, sub-regional clinics in Aniak, Emmonak, Hooper Bay, St. Mary’s and Toksook Bay, and various Village Health Clinics throughout the 56 communities served.

Services Provided Include:
  • Behavioral Health
  • Central Supply and Reprocessing/Operating Room
  • Dental – full service dental clinic
  • Diabetes Prevention & Control – offers outreach, education and clinical services
  • Diagnostic Imaging – Comprehensive services offering mammograms, CAT Scans and telemedicine
  • Emergency Department – YKHC is the only level IV ER in the area
  • Home Care – includes in-home services to care for elders and medically frail people who might otherwise have to go to a long-term care facility or nursing home
  • Infection Control
  • Inpatient Unit – Professional nursing care for adult and pediatric patients admitted to the hospital
  • Laboratory – Full service laboratory testing
  • Nutrition Services – Providing assessment and counseling for patients – some of the more common diagnoses are: malnutrition, anemia, hyperlipidemia, diabetes (either Type II or Gestational DM), obesity, cardio-vascular diseases and failure to thrive
  • Obstetric Services – Comprehensive prenatal care and an inpatient birthing center
  • Optometry – Provides a full scope of primary eye care, including routine eye exams, contact lens fittings and ocular disease management
  • Outpatient Ambulatory Clinic – Three ambulatory clinics are housed in the hospital
  • Pediatrics – With 50% of the Y-K Delta population under the age of 18, this unit provides local primary care and consultative care for children
  • Pharmacy – Serving a patient population greater than 28,000 and fills approximately 1,000 prescriptions per day
  • Physical Therapy – Providing treatment for muscular, skeletal, neurological or orthopedic conditions
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Social Services
  • Specialty Clinics – Includes Gynecology, Urology, Cardiology, Neurology and Dermatology services
  • Women’s Health – Provides outreach, education and clinical services; screenings include mammograms, Pap tests, clinical breast exams and additional diagnostic test as necessary


Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation employees are challenged to provide a level of care under a variety of conditions not normally encountered in the lower 48 states.

YKHC employees are a diverse group of professionals who are dedicated, strong, and open to new ideas and experiences. They are looking to make a difference in the lives of the communities they serve, and are committed to strengthening their own skills and life experiences.

YKHC employees share a commitment to improving quality of life of Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta residents. Their expertise in holistic, life enhancing, and culturally based health care assist a diverse range of patients who come to YKHC for care. By supporting training and educational programs that empower the people of the region, YKHC strives to improve their quality of life and the standard of living as well as health care.

Unique illnesses

The diverse aspects of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta environment result in a number of diseases that are rarely seen in the lower 48 states.

YKHC medical professionals must diagnose and treat illnesses such as:
  • Botulism
  • Tuberculosis
  • Animal Bites
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA
  • Frostbite
  • Alveolar Hydatid Disease – a parasitic disease caused by the larval stage of a microscopic tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis
  • Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) – a bacterial disease which usually infects children under 5 years of age and causes a number of illnesses such as pneumonia, occult febrile bacteremia, meningitis, epiglottitis, septic arthritis, cellulitis, otitis media, purulent pericarditis, and other less common infections such as endocarditis, and osteomyelitis

Despite some of the rare diseases, YKHC medical professionals also diagnose diabetes, cancer, ear infections, RSV and other diseases that are more commonly seen throughout the United States.
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