Consortium to host open house for patient housing project

Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium will host an open house for its new $3.45 million patient housing facility at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 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," SEARHC Vice President of Hospital Services Frank Sutton said. "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 of 1990. 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 new patient housing facility expects to start housing patients on Monday, 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 advanced 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.

Helgesen also said the project shows how partnerships can work together to bring much-needed services to a community. Funding came from the Denali Commission ($1.7 million), the Rasmuson Foundation ($750,000), the Paul G. Allen Foundation ($275,000), Tlingít-Haida Regional Housing Authority ($80,000), the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development ($50,000), and SEARHC ($568,000). Other groups who helped with the project include the City and Borough of Sitka, Sitka Tribe of Alaska and Baranof Island Housing Authority. McGraw Custom Construction of Sitka built the patient housing facility.

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