Case Management

Northern exposure: Charting one case manager's Alaskan adventure

Case Management Insider, May 26, 2015

Alaska is sometimes called America’s last frontier. It’s the largest state with the smallest population—averaging just 1.2 people per mile compared to the 87.4 people per square mile average in the rest of the U.S.


In some ways, Alaska just is like you probably picture it based on television shows. Stationed in Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, Randi Ferrare, RN, BSN, a case management consultant, says moose really do wander into the city streets from time to time and mountain ranges ring the city.
In many ways, Providence Alaska Medical Center, where Ferrare works as the interim director of case management and social work, is like any other major metropolitan U.S. hospital.
Ferrare got the temporary job thorough a placement agency and has been working there since October 2014. While the facility and standard-of-care rival urban medical centers in Boston and Philadelphia, that’s where the similarities end. Since Ferrare arrived, she’s had to contend with a critical lack of resources outside the hospital that make it difficult to find placements for patients who need skilled nursing care or long-term care. With only two of each type of post-acute facility in the area, patients often have to complete their therapy at the hospital due to a lack of available beds.
In addition to the lack of post-acute facilities, there are other challenges to contend with ranging from high percentage of Medicaid and self-pay patients, to a population with numerous social needs, such as high rates of alcoholism, domestic violence, and frequent guardianship issues.
In addition, many patients come to the hospital from remote villages, and have to find air transportation to get to and from medical appointments. Case managers and social workers often find themselves coordinating flights while coordinating care.
Ferrare calls it “extreme case management.”
She and her co-workers have taken steps to overcome some of the challenges they face and have learned important lessons along the way. Case Management Monthly, HCPro’s print publication, recently talked with Ferrare’s about her Alaskan case management adventure and the lessons she’s learned along the way. You can check out the full story in the July 2015 issue of the newsletter.
Ferarre was originally slated to spend only three months in the position, but her stay has extended because the hospital hasn’t been able to find her a replacement. If you’re looking for your own Alaskan adventure, you might want to consider applying for her position. Ferrare says it’s one that comes with challenges, but also numerous rewards.
Interested? Contact Colleen Deal, Senior Recruiter at (425-525-6793, or apply via the website) to become part of this dynamic team of professionals and leading health care provider in Alaska.


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