Local News

Salard denied right to work at hospital

On Friday March 2nd Alaska Island Community Services’ (AICS) Physician Dr. Greg Salard received a letter from the Wrangell Medical Center Review Hearing Committee. It notified him that he could no longer see patients at the Wrangell Medical Center, the city-owned hospital.

The decision follows a November 16th meeting, where the WMC Board of Directors voted to revoke Salard’s medical privileges. On December 2nd, Salard and his employer, AICS, filed a civil suit against the hospital to reinstate his medical privileges until a “Fair Review Hearing” was held.

On December 12th Alaska Superior Court Judge Kevin G. Miller ordered Salard’s privileges be reinstated and for both parties to move forward with the Fair Review Hearing.

On February 21st Wrangell Medical Center’s Review Hearing Committee – made of board members – conducted the “fair review hearing” to review Salard’s privileges at the hospital. After the hearing, the committee had 20 days to file a decision on whether to grant a continued contract with WMC or to end the doctor’s medical privileges at the hospital. On Friday the WMC Review Hearing Committee decided to end his contract.

Hospital CEO Noel Selle-Rea says the Review Hearing Committee’s decision is consistent with its November decision.

“They reaffirmed their decision they made back in November and that would conclude the appeal process under the medical staff bylaws,” he says.

The Hospital Review Hearing Committee and Dr. Salard are not disclosing the issues discussed at the meeting, however Salard says he’s surprised by the committee’s decision and plans to fight it.

“I’m extremely disappointed. They made a decision based on very few incidents, none of which had to do with patient care. And what they have done it totally without precedent. A board does not deny privileges under conditions such as this,” he says

Salard is employed through Alaska Island Community Services — A non-profit medical clinic. He started work as a physician in Wrangell in 2009 and was initially contracted to have hospital privileges through February 2011.

Last year the WMC board granted Salard a temporary contract extension to November of 2011. Now that the committee has denied Salard a contract renewal, his Attorney, Lee Holen, says they’re working to get an injunction from the court to reinstate his privileges until the court has made a decision on the larger issues.

“When we went to the judge in court earlier, he indicated that he thought that Greg raised serious and substantial issues about whether or not he should have privileges. We intend to explore that with the court system. He has grounds for appeal of this board’s decision as well as an independent whistle blower suit. Because these issues were raised against him after he complained about the administration to the Assembly,” she says.

At this time Salard is not authorized to work at the hospital. This infringes on his contract with AICS and ability to work with hospital and long-term care patients. He’s says if this is not reversed AICS will no longer be able to keep him on as their physician. Hospital CEO Noel Selle-Rea says the hospital’s physician agreement with AICS still stands.

“The historical agreement between AICS and the Hospital is that AICS employee’s the physicians, this agreement is still in place. I believe there are still two physicians in building today, but I have not heard anything from AICS at this point,” he says.

Medical Center Board Chairman Mark Robinson could not be reached for comment before this report’s deadline. In a letter between Hospital CEO Noel Selle-Rea and Wrangell resident Robert Maxand, Selle-Rea wrote that as of January 20, 2012 the total costs to Wrangell Medical Center for medical staff issues related to Salard was $66,748.

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