SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


New PeaceHealth Ketchikan Building Celebrated With Ribbon Cutting


June 27, 2016
Monday AM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - With a capacity crowd in attendance, the new addition to the PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center was celebrated Saturday with a ribbon cutting ceremony, a community barbecue, along with tours of the new space. Although the ribbon cutting was yesterday, the move-in date is set for later this summer.

Community Board Chair Julie Sande emceed the event. She spoke about growing up in Southeast and her commitment to the area. City Mayor Lew Williams echoed Sande's comments about loving the community and talked about how expanding healthcare services would help the community strengthen and diversify its ecomony.

jpg New PeaceHealth Ketchikan Building Celebrated With Ribbon Cutting

The Cessnuns and the Johnsons cut the ribbon
Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

PeaceHealth Ketchikan's Chief Administrative Officer Ken Tonjes reflected on the long road from the project’s beginning to completion: a federal grant that broke the ice, state money that started the planning process and the City vote for a $43 million dollar bond that made the plan a reality.

Joe Williams, a member of the Ketchikan Medical Center's Foundation Board, accepted a drum from Ketchikan Indian Community President Irene Dundas who also played and sang to celebrate the occasion.

Michael and Marna Cessun and Dr. David Johnson and his wife Jenny Johnson cut the ribbon.

Pat Branco, Chief Executive Officer from 2002-2013 when PeaceHealth Ketchikan was known as Ketchikan General Hospital, was also in attendance with his wife Vicki Branco to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new building, a project Branco helped spearhead.

In Branco's fourteen years at the helm, Ketchikan General Hospital received numerous awards including being cited as one of America’s Top 50 Health Systems by Modern Health magazine; a traveling nurses' website named KGH the best place to work; the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services gave five star ratings to Long Term Care; and KGH was honored for the highest quality measures in the state determined by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Branco was also Chair of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNA).

The Brancos were also in Ketchikan to unveil a panel Friday that honors their generous donations to the Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation. The panel, in the hall near the Lab waiting area, focuses on their love for their family.

jpg Foundation Board member Carolyn Wilsie and Pat and Vicki Branco

Foundation Board member Carolyn Wilsie and Pat and Vicki Branco
Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

The text, written by Pat Branco, shows his humorous side. He describes himself and his wife Vicki as a couple of empty nesters who thought they would settle quietly into Ketchikan only to be joined by their two sons and their families. Their duo increasing to 12.

“Being here is like a family reunion,” Branco told one well-wisher, “the past is swept away and we celebrate being together. This feels like home and the people here like family”

The panel includes a sad story too. There were tears when Foundation Director Matt Eisenhower spoke about the Brancos' son Michael who died of esophageal cancer in 2015.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony and the barbequed chicken and ribs, tours were provided Saturday afternoon of the new space including a look at the new operating rooms, pre and post operative spaces, imaging areas and the new clinic waiting rooms.

The City of Ketchikan owns the 70,000 square foot building and through a partnership with PeaceHealth, PeaceHealth runs the Medical Center and PeaceHealth Medical Group clinics.

As the owner of the hospital building and land, the City of Ketchikan is responsible for the maintenance and construction costs associated with the facilities. The City constructed the current building in 1963, which has been operated by Peacehealth since that time. Previously known as Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, PeaceHealth has been operating hospitals in Ketchikan since 1923.

The expansion project for the new surgical center, the new medical clinic and additional parking required the City of Ketchikan to issue general obligation bonds for $43 million. The original project cos tin 2013, from design to building completion, was $62 million; however, the City was able to secure several grants for a third of the project costs. This included a $1 million federal grant for design development, a $3 million State of Alaska grant for construction - ready documents, and $15 million in capital allocation from the State for construction.

Based on 2015 interest rates, the debt is intended to be paid through the 1% Hospital Sales Tax, which is an already existing sales tax, it is not a new tax. The 1% Hospital Sales Tax has existed for more than 50 years and is collected each time someone buys something in the City of Ketchikan along with the existing 2 1/2% Borough sales taxes, the 1% Safety, and the 1 1/2% Public Works taxes.

The Ketchikan Medical Center Hospital Construction Bond was approved by the City of Ketchikan voters in November 2013.



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center


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