The Wrangell Medical Center Board of Directors held its regular meeting Wednesday and heard updates about the status of the hospital.

CEO Robert Rang said a Long Term Care survey showed that Wrangell’s facility scored higher than the national average for patient satisfaction. But he said the details of the survey will help the hospital improve resident care.

Rang also said the hospital and Alaska Island Community Services are still trying to hire another physician.

“Currently, the clinic has one vacancy,” Rang said. “They’ve been staffing that with locums. The hospital helps supplement some of that expense because we need them as well.”

He said they are in the process of interviewing two job candidates. The hospital is also trying to recruit permanent nurses to replace costly travel nurses.

Rang told the board he will have to apply for another Certificate of Need for the new hospital project. It is necessary for seeking loans and financial help, and Wrangell Medical Center’s certificate expired a few years ago.

“But there’s an application process, and so we have to go through that application [again] to be able to justify that we do need a new building,” Rang said. “So I’m not sure how in-depth that is, if it’s just the application itself, or if it’s the full, blown-out process in which they do public comment and all that other stuff which was conducted last time in 2011. So we’re still working on figuring out what exactly we’ll need to do with the state for that.”

The hospital also heard back about the application for pre-development assistance it submitted to The Foraker Group.

“They denied us and asked us to re-apply in July. What happened is, they were at full capacity; they only take on so many at a time,” Rang said. “And because I’ve only been here onsite for about four months, they wanted a little more tenure on my part before they really look at it seriously. But they encouraged us very strongly to re-apply in July.”

That would help to restart work on the new hospital.

The hospital board will also try to change its size from nine to seven board members. The board agreed to develop a recommendation for the Borough Assembly at its next meeting.