Sitkas hospitals consider integrating operations
Bykcxfhasb— — Posted in
A consultant’s plan released this month recommends Sitka’s two hospitals combine operations.Sitka Community Hospital is considering sharing services and management with SEARHC’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. (Photo by SCH FoundationThe municipally owned Sitka Community Hospital and the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital currently compete.But both agreed earlier this year to hire a consultant to examine options for survival in the face of financial and other challenges.ECG Management Consultants, a large, Lower-48 health-care management company came up with three options.Sitka Community Hospital CEO Rob Allen said one is no change. But the consultant said that could put the hospitals, their employees and patients at risk because it wouldn’t address financial problems.“The second one is to do some type of joint operating agreement and collaborate at a lower level,” Allen said. “Looking at maybe clinics and OB, cooperate in some areas that would work for both entities but still continue competing in other areas.”A summary letter released by both hospitals said this option would consolidate clinical and administrative services and create a shared workforce.Allen said the final, preferred option would require the most change.SEARHC’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital is considering consolidating some of its operations with Sitka Community Hospital. (Photo courtesy SEARHC)“The third is to do some type of new entity that has joint governance from both sides and that would take over the management of both facilities and some of the operations here,” Allen said.The letter said the plan would save money by reducing duplicate equipment. It said integration would streamline both operations and make it easier to recruit specialists and expand services.Allen said the hospitals are trying to plan for reduced government funding, as well as an aging population needing more health options.“It’s looking at higher reimbursement rates that are available, doing away with some duplication and increasing the options for health care,” Allen said. “If you have some of those resources available to focus in other ways and trying to keep more people here health care.”The plan needs to be approved by SEARHC and the community hospital’s boards, as well as the Sitka Assembly.SEARHC officials wouldn’t comment in detail until after their board meeting.