SITKA — The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium announced Tuesday that it will close a Sitka clinic at the end of next month, blaming the closure on the federal budget cuts known as “sequestration,” which took effect early this month.
The Bill Brady Healing Center, a substance abuse treatment center located at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital near Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport, will close April 30, according to the announcement.
“We’ve had to anticipate about $3.5 million in reduced spending over the next six months,” said Charles Clement, president and chief executive officer of SEARHC, in a statement. “Over the past weeks, we’ve been working hard with the board of directors to determine how and what we should be doing different in order to meet this projected cut in the funding that instantly (affects) our budget. Almost every area SEARHC has been affected and the closing of BBHC is one of the hardest hits to the organization.”
According to the SEARHC statement, the BBHC has provided Native people in Sitka with 40- to 45-day residential treatment for drug and alcohol addiction since 1996.
“SEARHC believes that such a program as BBHC is important to those in need, but in its current form, the Bill Brady Healing Center is not financially viable,” said Clement in the statement.
SEARHC said “a few” employees will be terminated due to the closure, while “several” will be moved to other departments or furloughed.
A more “self-sustaining” and “revamped” program may reopen sometime in fiscal year 2014, according to SEARHC.