Former Wrangell Medical Center CEO, Noel Selle-Rea, has been named the interim hospital administrator at SEARHC in Sitka.
SEARHC is the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
The news came out in a July 12th press release on the SEARHC website.
Dr. Marty Grasmeder is the current hospital administrator and medical director at SEARHC’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka.
He’s worked for SEARHC for 19 years and is leaving to take a job in Oregon.
The end of his tenure in Sitka will be late September. At that time, Selle-Rea will step in as the interim director.
SEARHC Communications Director Michael Jenkins was not directly involved in the hiring process, but he said he thinks Rea was hired because of his extensive experience in running rural hospitals.
Jenkins said that as the interim, Rea’s job will not be quite the same as a permanent administrator.
“When Noel comes in, he can’t do anything that will change the operations of the organization. It has to stay the status quo,” said Jenkins.
SEARHC states that they do plan to launch a search for a permanent administrator. They plan to begin the search internally but will expand it nationwide if necessary.
Selle-Rea was at the center of a controversy at the Wrangell Medical Center.
After all but one of the hospital board members were recalled, Selle-Rea was fired without cause and given a golden handshake.
After his firing, he was asked to return a laptop and iPad.
The hospital claimed they were company property.
As of earlier this year, the hospital’s insurance company, Chubb, is paying the City and Borough of Wrangell $250,000. A judge and forensics expert are examining the laptop and iPad. They are returning hospital information. They are not releasing any of Selle-Rea’s personal information from the devices. They’ll both be destroyed after the examination is finished.
Jenkins said he doesn’t think this controversy was a deterring factor in Rea’s hiring.
“The executive team basically said that really, that’s an issue that’s been between him and the community of Wrangell and from what we understand, it’s been resolved,” said Jenkins.
Noel Selle-Rea was contacted but declined to comment.