The Borough Assembly voted this week to sign an agreement with Peace Health to temporarily take over the hospital’s administration. The financial terms of the agreement are still under negotiations, but the plan is to have Peace Health run the hospital for three to four months while the Medical Center Board looks for a new full-time CEO. The contract will be between Peace Health and the Borough but will be funded by the Wrangell Medical Center.
Borough Manager Tim Rooney said he relied on recommendations from hospital staff and interim CEO Olinda White when choosing Peace Health, the organization that runs the Ketchikan Medical Center. The Wrangell Medical Center already has a relationship with them.
“They tend to work together in a lot of board training activities, they tend to be very supportive of fundraising efforts that the WMC put on here, and many of the specialty doctors are shared between the facilities,” Rooney explained.
Peace Health will temporarily be in charge of the hospital’s administrative and financial services. The acting CEO, Kendall Sawa, would move to Wrangell for the duration of the contract. Currently Sawa is the regional vice president in charge of patient care services in Ketchikan and fills-in as their CEO when necessary. He is a registered nurse, holds a Bachelors of Science in Health Care Administration, and has 17 years of hospital experience.
Rooney said this will give the new WMC Board time to find a new full-time administrator. “That will be the board’s responsibility completely. They will go out, they will advertise, they will interview and then they will make a recommendation to my office then I will confirm that recommendation.”
The borough attorney will also look over the contract with the new administrator before it is approved.