The regular meeting of the Wrangell Medical Center board was Wednesday, April 16th.

It discussed hospital renovations, program updates, and worker’s compensation claims.

The board focused on ways for the hospital to better serve the community and its staff.

Workers’ compensation claims are often tricky situations. CEO Marla Sanger says she’s looking into one way to help staff who have filed them, and, hopefully, to prevent future injuries.

She says she’s consulting with an attorney about making an addition to the hospital’s personnel policy. It would allow the injured staff member to seek help at WMC.

“And ask that person to be seen by our physical therapist for a consultation. And they can help assess if there is something they didn’t know or that could be done better so they don’t get injured again in the future. We can offer that now that we have our own program and the director Aaron MacPherson is all supportive of this,” says Sanger.

The next step is to take the updated policy to the Assembly for review and then present it to the WMC board for approval.

Sanger says she’s also working closely with members of the community and other healthcare organizations on plans for a new hospital facility.

There have been two meetings so far with the planning group. From WMC, it includes Sanger.

“Also from Wrangell Medical Center we have Dana, we have Ernie and Terri’s invited as well and we have Brian Smith,” says Sanger.

Also, Mark Walker and Steve Helgeson of Alaska Island Community Services, city manager Jeff Jabusch, and patient advisor Don McConachie. Sanger says Carl Johnson of public works will most likely get involved as the building planning moves forward.

Sanger says the group is diverse because the goal is broad.

“Because we want really to create what the original vision was- an integrated healthcare delivery system that’s located in a central campus together,” says Sanger.

That would bring AICS and WMC under the same roof with shared facilities to efficiently and productively use the new space.

“Which means that ideally, in a perfect world, the public could come in to a common entry, and in that area would be things that they would most often need like lab, pharmacy, imaging, those things. If they are here for a clinic appointment, they go off this way and have the appointment. For hospital business, they go this way. But those things that we would share would be sort of central and that would greatly improve efficiency and I think the experience for our community too,” says Sanger.

She says the planning has a way to go, but it’s moving forward.