Sitka Community Hospital. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation)

Sitka Community Hospital is considering sharing services and management with SEARHC’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. (Photo by SCH Foundation)

A new consultant’s plan recommends Sitka Community Hospital combine operations with the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.

The community hospital’s board plans a work session Monday night (9-26-16) to hear about the plan.

The hospitals jointly hired a consultant to examine options for the competing entities. Both face financial and other challenges that could reduce future operations.

ECG Management Consultants, a large, Lower-48 company came up with three options.

Sitka Community Hospital CEO Rob Allen says one is no change. But the consultant says that could put the hospitals, their employees and patients at risk because it wouldn’t address financial problems.

SEARHC's Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital is considering consolidating some of its operations with Sitka Community Hospital. (Photo courtesy SEARHC)

SEARHC’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital is considering consolidating some of its operations with Sitka Community Hospital. (Photo courtesy SEARHC)

“The second one is to do some type of joint operating agreement and collaborate on a lower level. Looking at maybe clinics and OB, cooperate in some areas that would work for both entities but still continue competing in some areas,” he said.

A summary letter sent to the Sitka Assembly says this option would consolidate clinical and administrative services and create a shared workforce.

Allen says the final, preferred option would require the most change.

CableHouseRainbow_NEWS_TAG3_sm“The third is to do some type of new entity that has joint governance from both sides and that would take over the management of both facilities and some operations here,” he said.

The letter, from Allen and SEARHC CEO Charles Clement, says the plan would save money by reducing duplicate equipment. It says integration would streamline both operations and make it easier to recruit specialists and expand services.

Allen says the hospitals are trying to plan for reduced government funding, as well as an aging population needing more health options.

“It’s looking at higher reimbursement rates that are available, doing away with some duplication and increasing the options for health care. If you have some of those resources available to focus in other ways and trying to keep those people here health care,” he said.

The community hospital meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday (9-26-16) in the facility’s classroom.

SEARHC will present the plan to its board at a later date. Officials wouldn’t comment in detail until after that meeting.