Story last updated at 6/19/2013 - 2:05 pm
After more than a decade of service as CEO of PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, Patrick Branco has announced he will be leaving to pursue a career opportunity in Duluth, Minn., with Essentia Health System as President and CEO of Community Hospitals.
Branco will remain in his role in Ketchikan through August 13, 2013, while he works with PeaceHealth leaders and the Board to establish both interim and long-term succession leadership plans.
Branco wrote in his resignation letter, "The difficult part will be leaving Ketchikan Medical Center. My work here has been the very best professional and personal experience of my life. I will cherish the relationships of the caregivers, board members in Ketchikan and my colleagues across PeaceHealth."
Since his arrival in Ketchikan in May of 2002, Branco's leadership has help assure the community's access to care and boost the non-profit's fiscal strength, allowing more resources to be available for patient care, technology and equipment. Through the establishment of the local PeaceHealth Medical Group, the community avoided the loss of a number of doctors who were finding it increasingly difficult keep their doors open as operating costs of maintaining private practices continued to rise. During his tenure, the hospital also changed its designation from an acute care hospital to a critical access hospital, which increased hospital revenue while better suiting the demands of the region.
Recognized for his leadership across the state, Branco was appointment by Gov. Sean Parnell as a member of the Alaska Health Care Commission in 2010. In addition, he served as the Alaska Delegate to the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board, helping to provide input on public policy issues, identify regional needs and assist with program development to meet those needs. In 2012 he was named as a Grassroots Champion for his advocacy for patients and the vital role hospitals play in each community.
Branco also served as the president of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association in 2011. He was consulted regularly by other hospital and clinics in the region and one of those consultations lead to the opening of the PeaceHealth Medical Group: Prince of Wales in Craig in 2010 in partnership with the City of Craig.
Ketchikan Medical Center (KMC) also received many distinctions under Branco including recognition as one of the country's Top 100 HealthStrongTM Critical Access hospitals for two years in a row. In 2010, KMC was given the Hospital Quality Achievement Award from the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association; the New Horizons Longterm Care center earned 5-Star Ratings from Medicare for 3 years in a row; and, for the past two years, KMC has been ranked as the number one destination in the country for visiting nurses.
When asked what his greatest accomplishment was, he quickly said it was the strong, competent team established under his leadership.
"I am proud of the team of caregivers who serve this community with such commitment and professionalism. I leave knowing that I've accomplished the most important aspect of my job-helping to develop leaders all along the way. I'm confident that things at KMC will continue smoothly under their leadership."