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2/10/2018
Medical Center ICU closed until Sunday

By ZACHARY HALASCHAK
Daily News Staff Writer

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center has been without an intensive care unit for more than a week, but expects to reopen the ICU on Sunday.

In a Friday phone interview with the Daily News, Ed Freysinger, PeaceHealth’s chief administrative officer for Southeast Alaska, confirmed that the medical center has been operating without an ICU since Jan. 31.

“So we had a situation, or scenario, where we needed to close our intensive care unit for a period of days due to lack of staffing for that unit,” Freysinger said.

“Since (Jan. 31), though, we’ve been successful at bringing the staff in,” Freysinger explained, “and as of Sunday, the ICU will be open and running again.”

Freysinger said that not a single  patient has had to be medevaced south because of the closure.

“Based upon our information, we’ve transferred nobody as a result of the situation,” he said Friday.

Freysinger explained that the situation occurred because of issues with AMN Healthcare — an outside company that PeaceHealth uses to contract staff.

“We have a mix of staff that are employed, and then we have some staff members that we contract with outside, what are called traveler agencies,” Freysinger said. “And some of our travelers were not able to make it and so they didn’t show up for our schedule and that’s what led us to having consolidate, or close down the intensive care unit.”

Asked whether the situation was a fluke and just happened randomly, Freysinger said, "yes."

“It’s unusual that that’s the case, it’s very rare that travelers don’t come based upon our contracting agreement,” he said.