Cross Road Medical Center Today On July 1, 1988, Faith Hospital officially became Cross Road Medical Center. Since then it has been a not-for-profit Christian corporation. CRMC is under the direction of a community Christian Board of Directors. On August 26, 2003 CRMC became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). CRMC now receives an annual sum of federal funds to broaden our services to low-income and uninsured patients.
Cross Road Medical Center is an outpatient and short-term urgent care facility providing medical care given in Christ’s name to the residents of the Copper River Basin. Cross Road Medical Center includes an active Monday-Friday outpatient clinic, 24-hour urgent care and trauma services and a 24-hour observation unit. We have the supportive services of lab, x-ray and pharmacy.
Cross Road Medical Center has the challenge of treating a wide variety of medical problems in a remote setting. The days may be filled with the general problems similar to any general practice outpatient clinic. We see patients in all age groups, newborn to geriatric, with acute and chronic health needs. We also provide preventative health screening and education. Often interspersed with this are emergency and critical situations. After hours, we care for non-urgent, urgent and true emergency cases. We manage cardiac, trauma, medical, obstetric, and other emergencies until arrangements can be made to fly patients to a hospital in Anchorage, which is 190 miles away. The nearest specialists and referral centers are located there. Distance, weather and transportation are all part of the challenges of health care here in the interior of Alaska.
The Copper River Basin and Its People The geography and climate of the Copper River Basin presents its own challenges. Weather conditions and rough terrain, as well as long distances, create a unique physical environment in which to practice medicine. Winter temperatures can dip to -50° F and below. The summers are a moderate 60-80 degrees. The dark winters of just a few hours of daylight are offset by the long summer days of continuous daylight. This area is truly beautiful both in winter and summer with its many rugged mountain ranges.
Our service area population of approximately 2900 people (2010 census) is spread over an area nearly the size of the state of West Virginia. Imagine serving the medical needs of this few people in such a vast area and you will be able to comprehend some of the challenges at Cross Road Medical Center. An added challenge is the great influx of a transient population in the summer. One-fourth of the population is Athabascan Indians. The Native culture is in transition; traditional lifestyles and values being modified by the larger society. Much of the non-Native population is quite mobile. All of these groups present unique opportunities and challenges for ministry.
Up to July 1988, Cross Road Medical Center was the Alaskan medical ministry of the mission organization SEND Alaska, now SEND North. SEND’s work in Alaska was founded in 1937 as Central Alaska Missions (CAM) by Rev. Vincent Joy. In the early years of his work in the Copper River Basin, Rev. Joy was called upon to give medical care to the people of the Copper River Basin. The nearest doctor was 120 miles away over a rugged mountain trail and he felt keenly his lack of training and equipment. Rev. Joy urged his supporting friends and churches to join him in prayer for a doctor to assist. In 1950 these prayers were answered as the first doctor arrived. A second doctor joined the staff in 1954.
Faith Hospital became a reality in 1956 as the medical care moved from a small, improvised cabin to a modest but adequate hospital building. A clinic section was added in 1968 to better serve outpatient needs. A new clinic wing was put into service in June 1984. This expansion added examination rooms, a large trauma/emergency room, a larger laboratory and pharmacy, and improved office facilities. Further renovations and remodeling were done in the 1990’s and extensive foundation repairs in 2009. The present facility is a modern and well equipped testimony to God’s faithfulness in provision.