The history of Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna reflects the explosive growth of not only the Kenai Peninsula but also the health care industry in Alaska.
The concept of a hospital was conceived at a 1964 community meeting in Soldotna. Construction began in 1966, then stalled for lack of funds. In 1969, the voters approved a service area and the Kenai Peninsula Borough took over the project.
It received its first patient in June 1971. That year it had 30 beds, 8,000 square feet and a total staff of 20.
In 1991, the hospital celebrated its 20th anniversary with fanfare. At that time, it had 62 beds, 101,000 square feet and a total staff of 215.
In 2001, its 30th anniversary year, it had 52 beds, 129,000 square feet and a total staff of 369. For the year, it had 2,535 acute care admissions and 51,944 outpatient visits. Its annual budget was about $35 million, including $15.5 million in payroll.
Bonnie Nichols, the hospital's public outreach coordinator, explained that the hospital is doing more with fewer beds. The trend is toward more emphasis on outpatient procedures.
"Because of technology, we are able to do things quicker," she said. "Patients can be in and out and get to go home."
The hospital today is a nonprofit owned by the borough and managed by a local nonprofit entity, CPGH Inc.
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