Nearly half of the Sitka Community Hospital Board changed Tuesday night, when the Sitka Assembly appointed new members. And after a process that spanned months, the Assembly also gave their approval to a document seeking bids on the city-owned hospital. KCAW’s Katherine Rose reports.
Six applicants were considered for the three open seats on the Sitka Community Hospital board. Four of those six applicants spoke to the assembly. Robert Hattle, Carolyn Evans and Carin Adickes were appointed. Adickes, an attorney, noted her legal and business background as strengths that would aid her as a board member. Hattle is a former RN at Sitka Community Hospital and has served on the board as a temporary appointee since October.
Evans worked for the department of labor for over 20 years, and served on the hospital board in the 1980s. She noted one possible conflict of interest in her application. Her son and his wife both work for the hospital. Evans said she personally had no financial interest in the hospital and would recuse herself from voting on budget line items that may affect her family members.
Before the vote, assembly member Bob Potrzuski called a point of order, noting what he saw as another possible conflict of interest.
“My concern is Dr. Wein, through being on the assembly, trying to eliminate the management of SCH in the hope of being hired by new management, or he may lining himself up to be the CEO of SCH himself,” Potrzuski said. “If this is the case, then Dr. Wein has a clear conflict of interest.”
Wein assured Potrzuski that there was no conflict. Assembly member Kevin Knox said he’d also been approached by a community member with concerns and asked if Wein intended to pursue the hospital administrator job if it was open.
“I am flummoxed as to why this question is being asked. I have never raised it myself. I have never had a thought of it,” Wein said. “Though, actually, some people have approached me to become it, I do not believe it is within my purview to proceed with that.”
The assembly then heard recommendations from Sarah Cave and Steve Huebner consultants tasked with reviewing and suggesting changes to the latest draft of the hospital RFP. The move to develop an RFP began last July, when the assembly decided to take a step back from talks with Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, SEARHC, after they approached the assembly about a merger. The assembly then directed city attorney Brian Hanson to draft an RFP, seeking proposals for management solutions that range from collaboration to affiliation or an outright sale. Mayor Matthew Hunter said it was important that the assembly move forward and approve the document as written.
“This is something that will hopefully result in a complete process where we either know, this is it, we’re going to continue supporting community hospital and this is just all there is because no one else has any interest,” Hunter said. “Or, we can continue in status quo, but look at this other option and this other option and see if it’s where we wanna go.”
The RFP is now in phase one, with the city of Sitka seeking management proposals. Phase two is set to begin later this spring, when up to two proposers will be selected as finalists, meet with SCH leadership and refine their proposals.