By Associated Press - Thursday, February 21, 2019

SITKA, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska hospital announced Wednesday that it will suspend all scheduled and emergency surgeries as of Feb. 28.

The Sitka Community Hospital said the decision to terminate surgery is a result of staff departures, and the city’s mandate to limit operating expenses during negotiations of the final agreement with Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, the Sitka Daily Sentinel reported .

The city has been negotiating with Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium for several months to take over the delivery of all health care services currently provided at the hospital, the hospital said.

Sitka Community Hospital will continue offering minor surgical procedures at Mountainside Family Healthcare, the hospital’s outpatient clinic, Hospital CEO Rob Allen said.

“We are 100 percent committed to maintaining our high standards of care as long as SCH remains in existence and will avoid any conditions that could conceivably jeopardize patient safety,” Allen said.

He said employee departures have created challenges in fully staffing the community hospital’s programs, and hiring traveling staff for very short-term contracts is difficult and expensive.

“Suspending the surgery program will allow us to use our resources to support core services, including non-surgical emergency room care, long-term care, acute care and rehabilitation,” he said.

He said the hospital will work closely with SEARHC to ensure that community members who have surgeries scheduled after February “will receive timely care at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.”


Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel,

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