PUBLISHED: 6:20 PM on Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Open house to show new patient housing facility
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) will host an open house for its new $3.45 million patient housing facility Oct. 28 at 2 p.m., at the facility located across Tongass Drive from the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka. Light refreshments will be served.

"This has been in the 'dream' stages for a long time," said SEARHC Vice President of Hospital Services Frank Sutton. "I remember sitting at my desk with one of my assistants sketching out what a patient housing facility on the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital campus might look like about 10 years ago."

The 7,820-square-foot facility will have 18 rooms, including two that are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The patient housing facility will serve Alaska Native and non-Native patients receiving health care services in Sitka, including care received at non-SEARHC facilities. The facility expects to start housing patients Nov. 3.

SEARHC operates community health centers in several rural Southeast Alaska communities, and many of these patients are brought to Sitka's Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital for health care services not available in their villages. Many of these medical procedures require little or no hospitalization, so patients need a place to stay while they await their trip home or to give the patient healing time to become physically able to travel.

SEARHC President/CEO Roald Helgesen said the new patient housing facility will provide safe, accessible housing for patients waiting for surgery, patients waiting for the start of a substance abuse treatment program, pregnant women women awaiting the birth of a child, and families of patients in critical care.