A landmark topic is on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Ketchikan City Council.
It involves one of Ketchikan’s landmark structures and institutions — the Ketchikan Medical Center that’s owned by the City of Ketchikan and operated by the Washington-based nonprofit PeaceHealth.
After months of conversation and, more recently, negotiation, the city and PeaceHealth have developed a proposed new lease agreement by which PeaceHealth would continue to operate the hospital for at least the next 20 years, with options for two lease renewals of 10 years each.
The community can be pleased. In our view, the proposed lease helps address community concerns voiced in recent months, boosting transparency, accountability and service expectations while continuing the participation of an organization that’s been providing health care in Ketchikan since 1922.
In short, the proposed lease looks to build upon a well-established relationship.
It would, for example, result in a new Healthcare Advisory Committee to provide “oversight of the (lease agreement) and a forum for open communication and collaboration between PeaceHealth, city officials, and the public.” This HAC, which would be in addition to the existing Community Health Board, would meet at least monthly during the first year of the new lease and at least once a quarter thereafter.
The proposed lease spells out core and long-term care services to be provided at the Ketchikan Medical Center. There’s also a provision requiring the development, within two years, of an urgent care alternative to the emergency department that would be available after hours on weekdays and weekends.
The proposed lease sets base rents and describes a reinvestment strategy, among other features not found in the current lease.
We encourage community members interested in learning more about the proposed lease to take a look at the lease document and the related information included in the Ketchikan City Council agenda materials for Thursday’s meeting. Those materials can be found on the City of Ketchikan website at: www.ktn-ak.us/current-agendas-and-minutes.
The council’s consideration of the proposed lease will be a two-step process, with the first of two readings scheduled for this Thursday’s meeting. The Ketchikan Medical Center is a landmark entity in the community, and now is the opportunity for community members to comment on the fundamental document that would provide for the medical center’s operation for at least the next two decades.
From our view, the proposed lease brings positive changes. What say you?