PUBLISHED: 5:24 PM on Wednesday, May 21, 2008
KGH, Craig form healthcare partnership
CRAIG - PeaceHealth and the City of Craig finalized an agreement this week for Ketchikan General Hospital to assume oversight and management of the Craig Clinic on Prince of Wales Island. This agreement will enhance access to care while improving the overall level and quality of medical care for the residents of Prince of Wales Island. Craig is 60 air miles from Ketchikan.

Jon Bolling, Craig City Administrator, and Pat Branco, Ketchikan General Hospital CEO, signed the agreement, which will take effect when the City of Craig completes the state-of-the-art medical center. The City will continue to own and maintain the facility. The current clinic will continue to offer its full range of healthcare services to the Craig community.

"The hospital has developed strong ties with neighboring island communities throughout Southeast Alaska," said KGH CEO Branco. "Our multi-specialty group practice and healthcare system is in a unique position to address the challenges faced by a rural Alaskan healthcare clinic in providing exceptional medicine and healing and compassionate care. The signing of the agreement demonstrates, in a very real way, the steadfast commitment PeaceHealth has had for over 80 years to the people of Southeast Alaska."

Last year, the City of Craig extended an invitation to PeaceHealth to discuss the possible partnership. Both the City of Craig and PeaceHealth spent significant time over the past year evaluating the feasibility of the potential partnership, and the positive effect it could bring to Prince of Wales Island.

Craig residents supported the agreement, describing the positive care experiences that they and their families had received as patients with the Ketchikan medical staff, as well as at KGH, New Horizons, and at PeaceHealth's St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, WA.

The Hospital approved the agreement in April, after careful consideration by the KGH Medical Group, the Executive Team, and Governing Board. Last week the Craig City Council, after a comprehensive public process, also approved the partnership, effective with the completion of the new Craig Medical Center, expected by January 2010.

When the new facility opens, all physicians and staff at the current Craig Clinic are expected to move, along with their patients, to the spacious and expanded clinic, which will feature all new medical equipment and furnishings, as well as a patient- and family-centered, healing environment.

Once PeaceHealth assumes operation of the clinic, the Craig Clinic will be called: PeaceHealth Medical Group - Craig Clinic, and will welcome and provide access to all members of the Craig community.