A grant fund that aims to fill gaps in rural Alaska health care is now open.

The Premera Rural Health Care Fund supports access to quality health care through grants to providers in rural and remote Alaska communities. Eligible projects include medical and dental equipment, technology and vehicles, as well as ancillary equipment for emergency services, facility renovations, restorations and furnishings. Eligible providers include community health centers, outpatient clinics, Alaska Native- and tribal government-operated clinics and/or hospitals, critical access hospitals and sole community hospitals, located in rural and remote locations of Alaska.

Grants are up to $100,000. Learn more and submit an application here

This time-limited grant program was established in late 2019 by Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, which has generously provided $3 million for the fund. It is being administered in partnership with Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska Community Foundation. In all, Premera has committed $5.7 million to improve health care in rural Alaska. Premera participated in the Foundation’s 2018 Grantmakers Tour of Alaska, in which Outside funders are shown Alaska’s needs, challenges and successes. A Premera team then traveled in rural Alaska on a follow-up tour focused on health needs.

In announcing the new Rural Health Care Fund, Premera cited a 2017 study from the National Rural Health Association. Researchers found that people living in rural areas suffer worse health outcomes than their urban counterparts. They are sicker, poorer and older and are more likely to experience higher rates of premature death, disability and chronic disease. In Alaska, more than 200,000 people, or about 32% of the state’s population, live in rural communities. With about 200 villages off the road system and only reachable by boat, aircraft, snowmachine or four-wheeler, the state faces unique challenges to providing timely and quality care for all its residents.

Please contact Rasmuson Foundation with questions about the Premera Rural Health Care Fund.