SEP/OCT 2023

Congratulations to July/August Contest Winner: Eileen Toso

Enter for your chance to win $50!

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On September 22, 2023, the Public Education Health Trust Board will commence its election process for Seats C, D and F. To access the ballot containing the candidates’ biographies.

Voting begins September 22.

Following the conclusion of the voting period on October 16, the candidate with the highest number of votes will be assigned to Seats C and F. Their term will span from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2026 (3-year term). As for Seat D, it will be filled for the remaining duration of its term, which concludes on December 31, 2025.

Please visit for more information on the candidates and for voting instructions.


When a national PPO contract does not meet the needs of providers, they have the option of negotiating a direct contract with the Trust for the benefit of its members. The following providers have responded to their patients’ requests and have completed an in-network contract negotiation directly with the Trust for the benefit of you and your family.

PEHT now has direct contracts with 85 providers to ensure you have access to high-quality, low- cost providers in network.

The following providers have responded to patients’ requests and have completed an in-network contract negotiation directly with the Trust for the benefit of you and your family.

Alaska Family Health Center
Alaska Natural Health Solutions
Alaska Oncology and Hematology
Alaska Pain to Wellness Centre
Alaska Surgery Center
Alpine Chiropractic (Dr. Fuller)
Alyeska Vascular Surgery
Amy Smith, LCSW, CDCI
Anchorage Neurosurgical Associates, Inc.
Anna Sappah, LPC
Arctic Chiropractic at Eagle River
Arctic Chiropractic East Anchorage
Arctic Chiropractic East Mat-Su
Arctic Chiropractic Haines
Arctic Chiropractic Huffman
Arctic Chiropractic South
Arctic Chiropractic West Mat-Su
Arctic Chiropractic Wrangell
Arctic Medical Center Mat-Su
Arctic Rehabilitation & PhysicalTherapy
Back in Action Physical Therapy
Birds & Bees Midwifery
Brian Yelverton
Catherine Kilby, MD
Complete Chiropractic and Sports Therapy
Dimond Chiropractic
Dr. Brendan Kiernan
Dr. Brent Taylor
Dr. Harbir S. Makin
Dr. Laurence Wickler
Dr. Leslie Morris
Dr. Madeline Morrison
Dr. Sharon Schaefer
Dr. Thomas Desalvo / Dr. Konstantine Bunde
Dr. Weston Hopkins
Express Care Clinic
Fireweed Counseling and Wellness
Free By the Sea
Healing Therapeutics-Mark Stiubhard
Ideal Family Medicine

Integrated Wellness and Center for Birth
Jaded Body Wellness and Spine Institute
Jennie Schroll, LCSW
Jennifer Hunt, AGNP
Jorgensen Family Chiropractic
Labor of Love Midwifery
Larson Chiropractic
Logan Larson
Luminary Chiropractic Care
Mary DeMers, DO
Mary Margaret Hillstrand ANP
Medevac Alaska
Midnight Sun Oncology
Mind, Body, Spirit Counseling and Consulting
Neurobehavior North, Inc
Northstar Chiropractic
Northstarr Cardiothoracic Surgery
Nutrition Partnership, LLC
Pemberton & Young Counseling
People’s Integrative Wellness
Pioneer Peak Orthopedics
Prism Optical of Alaska
Providence Alaska Medical Center
Rachel Fowke, LCSW
Rainforest Pediatric Care
Ramirez Chiropractic
Restoration Wellness
Sharon Litwin
Silver Moon Acupuncture
Snow Blossom Acupuncture
Solomon’s Porch
Soma Wellness
Spine and Joint Rehabilitation Specialists
Spine and Sport Injury Center dba Complete Family Care
Sports, Personal Injury and Chiropractic Consulting
The Talking Place, Child & Adolescent Counseling
Transitions Counseling; Christina McGauthiar
True North TMS
Valley Allergy and Asthma Clinic
Vanessa Campbell
Wendi Compton-Karuna Counseling
Wild Iris Integrative Massage (Lawton)
Willow Medical and Wellness
Wisdom Traditions Counseling Services
Wolf Eye Center

You can view your health plan’s direct contract listing by visiting


The Optum Rx website and app are fast, easy and secure ways to get the information you need to make the most of your pharmacy benefit.


  • Check drug prices
  • Place a home delivery order
  • Track home delivery order status
  • Find a network pharmacy
  • Sign up for automatic refills
  • View claims and benefit information
register now


A prior authorization (PA) is an approval we give your doctor before the medication can be covered. You will be alerted on if a medication requires PA.

There are 3 ways to request prior authorization

  • Let your doctor know your medication requires a PA. They will submit a request on your behalf.
  • Call Optum Rx at the toll-free number on your member ID card.
  • Start the request yourself on and go to
    Benefits and claims > Prior Authorization or exception request.

Once submitted, you can track requests on the mobile app or website.

MY PRESCRIPTIONS > See all your medications, including home delivery prescriptions, retail pharmacy prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you’ve logged. You can also request a new prescription or select another family member and manage their prescriptions.

ORDER STATUS > Track orders in real time from any device.

PRICE A DRUG > Precision pricing technology is built into our tools. Whether you look up a new drug or select one of your current drugs, you will see a listing of pharmacies with the best price for the medication selected, as well as a lower-cost alternative.

BENEFITS AND CLAIMS > View your benefit information, access claims details to see what your plan covered, print and view your ID card and track a prior authorization.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG LIST/FORMULARY > View a list of covered drugs, including therapeutic class and tier status.

HOME DELIVERY > Learn more about Optum® Home Delivery and see a list of your retail medications eligible for the service. With home delivery, you receive 90-day supplies of eligible maintenance medications right to your mailbox. You will also see a message about how much money you will save.

PHARMACY LOCATOR > Whether you are close to home or traveling, the pharmacy locator tool makes it easy to find the nearest network pharmacy. Search for pharmacies by ZIP Code, address or by distance to see if they are in your network.

MY PROFILE > You can easily manage your personal profile or your entire household. Set up or edit a variety of account details, including contact, shipping and payment information, communication preferences and paperless settings, home delivery and automatic refill programs, medication reminders, personalized emails and text alerts.


Breast cancer is a pressing health concern that affects both men and women, regardless of age or geographical location. In Alaska, the vastness of the landscape and unique lifestyles present their own set of challenges when it comes to breast cancer awareness and prevention. Read on get some valuable tips, see the current recommendations — and join us in raising awareness!


Understanding individual risk factors for breast cancer is crucial for early detection and prevention. Alaskans should be aware that certain factors, such as family history, age, hormonal imbalances and lifestyle choices can increase the risk.


For both men and women, regular breast cancer screenings are vital in
detecting cancer at its early stages when treatment options are most effective. Mammograms, clinical breast exams and self-examinations are recommended methods for early detection. Keep track of screening appointments and follow up with healthcare providers promptly.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer should start having mammograms at age 40 and continue to have them annually. Women with a higher risk of breast cancer, such as those with a family history of the disease or certain genetic mutations (e.g., BRCA1 or BRCA2), may need to start screening earlier and/or have more frequent screenings.

And while the American Cancer Society does not have specific recommendations for mammograms in men, if you notice any unusual changes in breast tissue, such as lumps or nipple discharge, seek medical attention promptly.


In Alaska's remote regions, access to healthcare facilities is often extremely limited. As such, compared to a lot of places in the country it is even more crucial for Alaskans to be proactive in seeking healthcare services, especially for screenings and check-ups. And remember, you can always reach out to us! We can help you explore telehealth options or mobile medical units to improve accessibility.


The Alaskan lifestyle often involves outdoor activities and adventurous pursuits. Engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and limiting alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of breast cancer.


Breast cancer awareness spreads through the power of community and communication. Engage in conversations with friends, family and colleagues about breast cancer risks, prevention and early detection.

Breast cancer awareness is an essential aspect of maintaining good health and well-being for both men and women in Alaska. By knowing the risks, practicing early detection, embracing a healthy lifestyle and staying informed, Alaskans can take charge of their breast health.

Remember, knowledge is power — empower yourself and your community with breast cancer awareness! Together, we can create a healthier and stronger Alaska.


Kathy Bell

In the realm of public education, it is a rare accomplishment to reach the milestone of 25 years of dedicated service. However, Kathy Bell’s unwavering commitment and exceptional contributions have set her apart, making her an exemplary figure in the Public Education Health Trust.

As we celebrate her remarkable journey, it is clear that Kathy’s impact goes far beyond her elected position, and her invaluable expertise as a nurse has left an indelible mark on the board and its members.

Kathy’s journey with the Public Education Health Trust (PEHT) has been nothing short of extraordinary. Her tenure, which spans from its inception, has been marked by an unwavering passion for the cause, making her a true asset to past and present board members alike.
Her institutional memory has been a guiding light, offering invaluable insights and historical perspectives that have shaped the trust's growth and success.

Throughout her service, Kathy’s role as a nurse at the Anchorage School District (ASD) and her experience in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Providence Hospital have been invaluable assets. Her unique healthcare background and medically informed perspectives have enriched our understanding and decision-making processes. Kathy’s contribution ensures that the board approaches its responsibilities with a comprehensive view, always keeping the health and well-being of the PEHT members at the forefront.

But beyond her expertise, Kathy Bell’s genuine compassion and unwavering concern for the members of the Trust truly sets her apart. Her approach to decision-making is deeply rooted in empathy and her dedication is a driving force, inspiring all of us to work tirelessly for the betterment of the community we serve.

As we reflect on Kathy’s remarkable journey, we are grateful for the privilege of having her as a fellow trustee. The impact she has made
is immeasurable and her legacy will continue to resonate long into the future. On behalf of the entire board, we would like to extend our congratulations and gratitude for all you do! Thank you, Kathy, for your unwavering dedication and compassion, which have truly made a difference in the lives of many!

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Providence ExpressCare clinics provide convenient, high-quality care for your family’s health care needs — at the start of the schoolyear and beyond.

Sports physicals are available by walk-in or same-day appointment, and as cold and flu season returns, we treat life’s most common illnesses, including:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Sinus Infection
  • COVID-19

When your days are packed with extra activities, we make scheduling easy. Providence now has five ExpressCare clinics in Alaska, plus one Urgent Care clinic in Midtown Anchorage. Visit us online at to find care close to you and get well, on your way. Not in your way.


Groundbreaking study in nature digital medicine establishes Sword Health’s digital physical therapy program as the new gold standard of care for the 50 million Americans who endure physical pain daily.

Sword Health, the world’s first end-to-end platform to predict, prevent
and treat pain, is announced its digital physical therapy program has been proven to be equally effective to the best in-person treatment, while making dramatic improvements in the compliance and engagement rates that
have been long-standing challenges of traditional physical therapy. These findings, published in Nature Digital Medicine, are the result of a recently concluded randomized controlled trial conducted in partnership with the Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Center at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The trial shows the engagement and completion rates for Sword’s digital program was more than two times those of best-in-class in-person physical therapy, with equally strong clinical outcomes, establishing Sword’s innovative program as the clinical leader in treating chronic pain.

“This study, published in Nature Digital Medicine, unequivocally establishes Sword’s Digital Physical Therapy program as the new gold standard of care for the 50 million Americans who endure physical pain daily,” said Virgilio Bento, Founder and CEO of Sword Health. “We have not only been able to showcase our ability to deliver clinical outcomes equivalent to traditional physical therapy, but more importantly, we have proven that we can double engagement and compliance levels. This has always been a significant challenge with in-person physical therapy and a key reason why it has not effectively addressed the pain epidemic. This serves as further affirmation of our belief, substantiated by data, that Sword’s Digital Physical Therapy program embodies the trifecta of what the future of healthcare should be: high levels of clinical outcomes, maximized engagement and compliance, all while significantly reducing costs within the system.”

Sword’s Digital Physical Therapy pairs an expert Doctor of Physical Therapy with Sword’s AI digital therapist, providing a customized treatment program that’s tailored to every member and every condition. Results of the study, which compared the clinical outcomes of patients with chronic low-back pain who underwent Sword’s digital intervention to those who underwent high-intensity in-person physical therapy, showed:

  • Sword had lower dropout rates (15.7% vs. 34.3% in the conventional in-person physical therapy group), suggesting higher acceptance and engagement with remote care, at a significantly lower cost, that will ultimately lead to more people experiencing pain relief
  • Equally strong improvements in disability, the primary outcome, with no statistically significant differences between the two programs (-.13 effect size)
  • Similar improvements in secondary outcomes such as pain, anxiety, depression, and overall productivity (-.08 effect size)

Sword Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vijay Yanamadala, highlighted the significance of the study’s results, saying, “While traditional physical therapy has always proven to be effective at treating chronic pain and avoiding unnecessary surgeries, the access and cost challenges have always and

will always make it unrealistic for many people to benefit from. With our Digital Physical Therapy program, Sword is delivering the same outcomes while making it easier for patients to engage in their treatment regimen by allowing them to receive the care they need in the convenience of their own homes and on their own time.”

With one in 5 people suffering from chronic pain, and new cases of chronic pain outnumbering those of diabetes, depression or high blood pressure, these groundbreaking results support the importance of Sword’s digital programs as an important alternative to in-person care. Ultimately, Sword’s Digital Physical Therapy program ensures clinical quality treatment while reducing barriers to access and improving patient engagement in the management of musculoskeletal conditions.

The study of 140 participants adhered to rigorous scientific standards, employing a randomized controlled trial design with prospectively registered protocols and adherence to CONSORT guidelines for reporting clinical trials. The methodology included state-of-the-art longitudinal analysis techniques, randomization, and allocation concealment, ensuring robust and reliable results. Unlike previous studies from other companies that employed “treatment as usual” or mixed acuity low-back pain cohorts as control groups, this trial directly compared Sword’s fully-remote digital care program with evidence-based in-person physical therapy.

To get started with Digital Physical Therapy, call (888) 293-2939 to be connected directly to a health guide.