WRANGELL – Today, the City and Borough of Wrangell (CBW) announced that SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and Wrangell Medical Center (WMC) will officially move forward formalizing an affiliation to transfer the operations of the hospital to SEARHC creating sustainable, quality health services for Wrangell residents.
Initially, SEARHC will acquire Wrangell Medical Center assuming operational, financial and legal responsibility of WMC, including a lease with the CBW for the hospital facility. SEARHC will continue operating WMC while building a new healthcare campus adjacent to the Alaska Island Community Services Medical Clinic, which will include a critical access hospital and long-term care facility. The parties’ goal is to transfer the hospital to SEARHC on or after November 1, 2018; and the new campus completed within four years.
“We have been working with SEARHC since the beginning of this year to develop creative options for a community healthcare solution, including construction of a new hospital, to address the ongoing challenges in the healthcare industry,” stated CBW Borough Manager Lisa Von Bargen. “Our collaboration has been highly productive, and we are fortunate to join hands with SEARHC in creating a viable, long-term healthcare solution for our community.”
In April 2018, representatives from the CBW, SEARHC and WMC engaged in a three-day process that included community stakeholders providing input on the feasibility and vision for a combined healthcare system that would offer long-term, high-quality services to Wrangell. The joint efforts ultimately led to an agreed-upon timeline to transition WMC operations to SEARHC and build a comprehensive healthcare campus for Wrangell. Effective immediately, both organizations will begin working together to facilitate a smooth transition for SEARHC to assume responsibility of WMC.
“Our patients and families are the true beneficiaries of this affiliation,” said WMC’s Long-term Care Medical Director Dr. Lynn Prysunka. “By expanding and improving access to quality healthcare services, our patients’ lives will be further enriched.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” commented SEARHC President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Clement. “SEARHC is resolute in our commitment to work with the CBW in developing a healthcare system that responds to our patients’ and community’s health needs and results in economies of scale.”
As a nonprofit organization owned by the CBW, WMC has provided services to the community of Wrangell for nearly 90 years. WMC has a total of 22 beds, eight acute and 14 long-term beds. As part of the transition, WMC will retain its name and continue operating out of its existing facility for the near future.