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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

An Open Letter to Our Community

By Ken Tonjes


July 07, 2016
Thursday PM

We all know that living in a small town is wonderful, but it comes with its own set of perils. Sometimes it is nice that news travels fast, but on the flip side, so does misinformation. Just a few well-meant but not entirely accurate conversations around the campfire and before we know it, misinformation is being spread around town. Most recently, the grapevine is saying that Ketchikan Medical Center is no longer performing elective surgeries because we don’t have anesthesiologists.

I want to nip this rumor in the bud, because it has the potential to negatively impact our patients should they begin to question whether the care they need is available here in the community.

To clarify, we are still performing surgeries—both elective and emergency—and we do have adequate permanent and temporary staffing coverage to meet our anesthesiology needs. I ask for your help in assuring those who may mention this issue to you that we are still performing all types of surgeries locally.

In fact, not only do we have one new permanent anesthesia provider Randy Hoeffner, CRNA, coming on in August, we are also welcoming several new permanent surgeons in the near future including: part time Orthopedic Surgeon Shannon Antekeier MD in July, full time Orthopedic Surgeon Steve Becker MD in September, and General Surgeon Julie Conyers MD in October.

I personally want to reassure our community that we are ready to serve our patients and encourage their continued confidence in our services. Maintaining a healthy hospital and clinic in our community will only happen when each person who lives here knows that they can count on us to provide them high-quality care right here at home.

We look forward to doing that for generations to come!

Ken Tonjes
Chief Administrative Officer
PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received July 07, 2016 - Published July 07, 2016


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