Kenai Peninsula mayor opposed to hospital audit

Review was to include an investigation into last fall's shooting

Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2009

KENAI - The mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and several assembly members are opposed to an audit of operations at Central Peninsula Hospital that would have looked at a fatal shooting there last year.

The Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board sent a letter last month to the mayor and the assembly advising them to launch an investigation into hospital management.

The audit would have looked into a variety of management issues, and would have included an investigation into the November 2008 shooting. That was when a former employee shot two supervisors, killing one, and then killed himself after he was wounded by officers.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey said Tuesday that the audit is outside his staff's purview, a redundant expense and could be insensitive to those affected by the shooting.

Service Area Board Chairman Neal DuPerron said the mayor's decision was unexpected and disappointing.

Carey expressed confidence in hospital chief Ryan Smith, who he said he's met with on a regular basis since taking office. Carey said he's also had conversations with citizens and members of the Service Area Board.

"I believe the people that have spoke with me were truthfully accurately presenting their perspective of things, however, I think my job is to look at the overall operation and overall contract," he said.

Carey also noted that in the past year the hospital has been in turmoil because of construction, unionization attempts and a shooting.

"The efforts to unionize segments of the hospital by their very nature tend to produce, sometimes misunderstandings, and also at times even exaggerations," he said.

He told the committee he thought it was time to move on.

In mid-October, the Service Area Board proposed an investigation that would have looked at eight points concerning the management of the hospital including its adherence to state and federal laws, regulations and rules governing hospitals; mandating hiring policies that prohibit discrimination; and an investigation into the shooting, among others.

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