Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

Wikimedia Commons

Starting this summer, Alaska Medicaid can no longer deny coverage to transgender Alaskans undergoing gender-affirming treatment.

That’s following the January settlement of a class action lawsuit filed by Swan Being, a transgender woman from Homer who said Alaska Medicaid refused to cover costs related to hormone treatment in 2019.

Being sued the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees Alaska’s Medicaid program, and department commissioner Adam Crum. She alleged the state’s policies discriminated against transgender Alaskans and violated the 14th Amendment, which grants all Americans equal treatment under the law.


The way the state counts COVID-19 vaccinations is changing to be more accurate, but it means the percentage of vaccinated people reported in Homer will go down sharply.

Currently, the state reports that 79 percent of people in Homer have received at least one vaccine. But starting Wednesday, that number will go down to 61 percent. That’s because the state is changing its population data to include the surrounding area of Fritz Creek.

Kenai Watershed Forum

Summer camps this year are getting a little help from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services in the form of one-time grants. The Alaska Community Foundation and the Rasmuson Foundation are helping to administer the program, which sent out about $1.26 million in aid last week to various camp programs all over the state.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

In Ohio, there’s a vaccine lottery. Kristy Kreme’s doling out free donuts.

In Alaska, Girdwood’s Alyeska Resort is promising a free day-of lift ticket to anyone who comes to it’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic this Sunday.

Wikimedia Commons

Just two years ago, the state released its first MAT Guide — a comprehensive set of recommendations for healthcare providers treating opioid use disorder.

But a lot has changed since then, down to the name of the treatment. Back then, MAT stood for “Medication Assisted Treatment.” Now, it’s “Medications for Addiction Treatment.”

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

Between Friday and Sunday, Alaska reported than 400 people had tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 333 are residents. That’s more than 13 percent of all the resident cases since the pandemic began in the state.

Another 78 were nonresidents, including 34 in Seward at a seafood processing plant. Sunday marked a record high, with 231 total cases reported in a single day. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services says this comes from a variety of factors, including widespread community transmission from social gatherings and seafood plant outbreaks, but also a test backlog.

Elizabeth Earl

A new outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Seward has the community on edge and events cancelled.

Since last week, about a dozen people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Seward. The first signs appeared Thursday when two people were reported to have tested positive and the Department of Health and Social Services notified the public that patrons at two area bars might have been exposed. Anyone who visited the Seward Alehouse on June 21 from noon to seven, June 22 from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and June 23 from noon to 7 or 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. or who visited the Yukon Bar on June 23 was asked to be tested.

With the confirmation of Alaska’s first positive coronavirus case in Anchorage on Thursday, efforts to prevent the spread of the virus on the Kenai Peninsula are ramping up. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced Thursday that all 42 schools in the district will be closed next week.

The University of Alaska is also extending its spring break a week, with classes not resuming until March 23. And even then, all classes possible will shift to online delivery. At Kenai Peninsula College, faculty and staff will work next week to figure out which classes still have to meet face-to-face, primarily labs that can’t be done over the internet. Going forward, any staff or students with any symptoms of coronavirus are required to stay home.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is raising the alarm over the on-going measles outbreak in Oregon and Washington State.

Saying those are common embarkation points for travel to Alaska, state public health officials are urging Alaskans to make sure that their immunizations are current, including the MMR, or measles, mumps, Rubella vaccine.

The state has more vaccine information online, or, Central Peninsula residents can call the Kenai Public Health Center at 335-3400.

New turn in first response saves lives

Sep 14, 2017

Almost two weeks ago in Anchor Point, a man accidentally shot himself. According to the Alaska State Troopers, he was found in a pool of blood. But he survived, largely because of specialized training the responding troopers recently received from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.