Sitka’s other hospital has a new chief.

The Southeast Regional Health Consortium announced Thursday (1-15-15) that Jeff Prater has been hired as the new administrator at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. He took over this week (1-13-15) from Interim Administrator Noel Rea.

Rea had served in that role for about a year and a half.

Prater comes to Sitka from Barrow, where he ran the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital for two years. Simmonds, which is managed by the Arctic Slope Native Association, calls itself the primary healthcare facility on the North Slope.

Before Barrow, Prater served for a year as CEO of a 25-bed hospital in Granite County, Montana; and as Director of Radiology at the 254-bed Kootenai Health & Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He served seven years in the U.S. Navy.

Prater arrives at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital at an unsettled moment in health care in Sitka. Just two years ago, SEARHC was facing steep losses and instituted a program of dramatic cuts. Now, across the bridge, the city-owned Sitka Community Hospital is coping with its own financial crisis and the abrupt departure of its CEO, Jeff Comer, after just a few months.