PUBLISHED: 5:39 PM on Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Haines Health Center celebrates 10 years
HAINES -The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Haines Health Center will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday, May 17, with a potluck barbecue and other events from 1-4 p.m. at the Haines ANS/ANB Hall.

When the Lynn Canal Medical Center announced in October 1997 that it planned to shut down its clinic, the Haines Borough asked SEARHC to step in. With letters of support from the Chilkoot Indian Association in Haines, the Chilkat Indian Village in Klukwan, the Haines Borough, the City of Haines and the SEARHC board, SEARHC took over management of the Lynn Canal Medical Center in March 1998.

"Lynn Canal's revenue was not meeting expenses and we probably were going to close," said Haines Health Center clinic administrator Marcia Scott, who worked for Lynn Canal Medical Center before SEARHC assumed management. "SEARHC increased the medical staff, made equipment improvements and we've had a significant increase in services we never had before. SEARHC improved access to a variety of services."

Marcia is one of five current Haines Health Center employees who came over with the change. Jody Miller, LPN; Dr. Julia Heinz; Pam Sloper, RN/WISEWOMAN;` and office manager Jessie Grant also worked for Lynn Canal Medical Center.

Since SEARHC took over the clinic, it added a pharmacist, a dental program, a physical therapist, a moderate-complexity laboratory, Community Wellness Advocates and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Many of these added services came after SEARHC began receiving community health center grants in 1999 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The HRSA grants also allowed SEARHC to adopt a sliding discount based on income to provide better access to services.