Wrangell – Today, Alaska Island Community Services (AICS) and SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) announced they are formally affiliating to enhance access to quality care for Wrangell residents and patients. As part of the affiliation, AICS will retain its name, and both organizations will be guided by a shared set of principles. AICS will continue to have a strong local voice and presence in Wrangell, and a local advisory council comprised of community members will be established to receive feedback and information regarding the community’s healthcare needs for planning purposes.
Additionally, the council will oversee a community foundation, created with a portion of AICS’ financial reserves, to help support programs and services dedicated to improving the health of Wrangell’s residents. SEARHC will assume operational and management support roles while AICS continues operating out of all existing facilities and locations. The business transactions in support of the affiliation are expected to be completed by first quarter 2017.
“We are passionate about delivering dependable and sustainable healthcare services to Wrangell and the surrounding communities,” said AICS Executive Director Mark Walker. “Changes in the healthcare environment are creating tremendous fiscal pressures resulting in declining revenues and increasing expenses. By affiliating with SEARHC, we can continue providing quality services we can be proud of and that benefit our patients, residents and communities.”
For approximately 27 years, AICS has provided Wrangell and surrounding communities a diversified array of healthcare services ranging from primary and dental care to health promotion, mental and behavioral health, pharmaceutical, developmental disabilities, senior and social safety net services. Throughout the years, AICS has grown revenues to expand access to quality healthcare services; however, within the last few years, revenues have flattened and expenses have continued to climb.
“For many years, we have been the only provider in a number of the communities we serve,” commented Walker. “However, our ability to provide long-term, viable services is threatened by declining reimbursements and increasing regulations. Partnering with SEARHC gives us the opportunity to build economies of scale and ensure the sustainability of our services to meet the needs of our patients and residents.”
Both AICS and SEARHC are strongly committed to working in partnership to improve efficiencies for the sustainability of healthcare services. With the affiliation in place, Wrangell residents and patients will benefit from a broader range of specialty medical, dental and behavioral health services.
SEARHC will provide AICS with support in administrative, quality improvement, compliance, IT and finance management services as well as practice management, regulatory compliance, performance improvement, human resources and facility maintenance services. Additionally, SEARHC will provide procurement/supply chain and biomedical equipment support and electronic health records integration.
“We believe collaborating with organizations that share complementary missions is necessary to combat the challenges ahead and continue delivering accessible, quality services,” said SEARHC President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Clement. “Through the affiliation, patients and residents who rely on AICS will continue benefiting from services and, in many cases, experience enhanced services. For both organizations, this means we are following through on our commitments to serve the people of Southeast Alaska.”