WRANGELL – After more than a year of discussions between SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and Alaska Island Community Services (AICS) about delivering sustainable and improved healthcare services for Wrangell and surrounding communities, today marks the official start of the merger between the two healthcare organizations.
“We are excited about this merger, not only because it’s in the best interest of patient care and the Wrangell community,” said AICS Executive Director Mark Walker, “but also because the patients and residents of Wrangell and surrounding communities deserve to know they can count on healthcare services being available. I am thrilled to be able to say they will, now that AICS and SEARHC have joined together.”
SEARHC’s commitments under the merger include the promise of serving all patients; assuming the property tax obligation the AICS clinic site; and establishing a local advisory council to provide feedback and information to SEARHC’s governing board regarding operations of AICS’ programs and services. Additionally, a percentage of surplus funds from operations will be set aside for community-designated health priorities. The newly created Walker Foundation will manage and disseminate these resources.
As a division of SEARHC, AICS’ programs and services will continue benefiting patients and residents. Consistent with the healthcare delivery arrangements between AICS and Wrangell Medical Center (WMC), SEARHC will provide physician and provider coverage for WMC as well as part-time pharmacy coverage; behavioral health consultation services; bio-medical services; and information technology services. In turn, WMC will provide SEARHC patients treated at the AICS clinic with radiology, laboratory and rehabilitation services as well as handle bio-waste services at the AICS clinic.
“It’s gratifying to know the depth and breadth of services provided to the patients and residents of Wrangell and surrounding communities will be enhanced through this merger,” said SEARHC President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Clement. “By aligning with AICS and partnering with WMC, our communities can rest assured they will have reliable and quality care for years to come with a delivery system that can meet the challenges of the healthcare environment and the changing health needs of our populations.”