Local News

Wrangell physician files appeal in court

The appeal was filed March 9th to the Alaska Trial Courts. This appeal comes after Alaska Island Community Services (AICS) Physician Dr. Greg Salard received a letter in early March from the Wrangell Medical Center Review Hearing Committee. It notified him that he could no longer see patients at Wrangell Medical Center, the city-owned hospital.

Salard’s Attorney Lee Holen says at this time they have filed a “stay pending appeal” as well as a motion for “expedited consideration” to allow Salard to work at the hospital while his appeal is pending.

“We have asked for an expedited hearing on the stay and we are hoping the judge will decide on that fairly shortly. But as for the appeal process, unless he decides to expedite that, each side has thirty days to write a brief. We haven’t gotten to that point yet, that could take several months,” she says.

Dr. Salard works a physician for Alaska Island Community Services which contracts with the Wrangell Medical Center. 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.

“We are just taking it day by day. It just depends on what happens with the appeal. If it goes quickly there won’t be a problem with me staying here, but if it drags out I may have to go somewhere else until we reach a resolution,” he says.

According to court documents, on February 21st WMC’s Fair Review Hearing Committee, made up of WMC Board members reaffirmed their November decision to deny Salard permanent privileges due to his “conduct toward and interaction with patients, medical staff, and hospital administration at WMC.” Court documents also state that WMC accuses Salard of being a “disruptive doctor” and “serial harasser of young women.” In a motion for appeal Salard’s Attorney Lee Holen calls these accusations "exaggerated” and “outright false.”

“I think the case law is pretty clear. It takes a lot more than what the hospital put forward to prove that a doctor is disruptive and should lose his privileges, especially in an area like Wrangell where it’s basically a municipal and borough entity and public hospital because there are no others,” she says.

Dr. Salard says he’s confident he will get his privileges back.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. What the board has based their decision on is so miniscule. All their accusations are not true, they are grossly exaggerated. But even if it was completely true you still don’t pull doctors privileges from three patient complaints and two employee complaints,” he says.

At this time both parties are preparing a record for the appeal. Once the records are ready each side has 30 days to write a brief. Attorney Lee Holen says they are waiting for Judge Kevin G. Miller to decide whether Salard will receive an expedited hearing on the “stay” to allow the doctor to continue working at the hospital while the appeal process is pending.

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