Unalaska's clinic has adopted a new policy for handling after-hours calls for non-emergency care.
Now, when patients call Iliuliuk Family and Health Services (IFHS) after closing time, they're directed to a phone triage service based in Pennsylvania, which connects them to the clinic's on-call provider.
The new service is taking the place of dispatchers from the Department of Public Safety, who have served as the go-between for the last 20 years.
Public Safety officials announced earlier this month that they were done volunteering as the middleman. IFHS Interim Director James Novotny said hiring the triage service was a fast, affordable solution.
"We were caught off-guard a little bit in terms of the need to do it quickly," said Novotny. "From a financial standpoint, it was a simple service, and I think it's nice that you still call the same number."
The clinic is using the triage service for a 30-day trial period. When that's over, Novotny said IFHS will decide whether to adopt it permanently or find another solution, depending on patient feedback.
While the clinic is finalizing its policy for non-emergency calls, Novotny said Unalaskans should still contact Public Safety for after-hours emergency care.