SEARHC acquires Wrangell based AICS

The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium announced Wednesday that it would be acquiring Wrangell based Alaska Island Community Services.

AICS CEO Mark Walker said the Wrangell operation will retain its name and continue operating out of its existing locations.

“All employees will retain their job. No employee will have any kind of reduction in their salary,” Walker said. “Services will continue under the same local management, and we don’t expect any immediate changes.”

Walker said AICS’ status as a community health center will not change, allowing a sliding fee scale for its services to stay.

“The slide may change to be in conformity with the SEARHC slide, but there won’t be any significant change,” Walker said.

He also expects an agreement with the Wrangell Medical Center to stay in place. AICS provides doctors for the hospital’s emergency room, acute and long-term care. The hospital provides labs and imaging services such as x-rays.

AICS has provided the Wrangell area with health care for 27 years. It provides medical, dental and behavioral health services in Wrangell, and also operates the Gustavus and Front Street Clinic in Juneau. AICS offers itinerate health and behavioral services in six communities on northern Prince of Wales Island and dental care in Coffman Cove.

Declining revenue and increasing costs is said to be part of the reason for the acquisition.Walker said SEARHC will expand AICS’ administrative capacity by supporting regulatory compliance, record keeping and financial management among other administrative duties.

A community foundation will also be created and funded from AICS’ financial reserves.

“Approximately 10 percent of the profit of the Wrangell operation will be contributed to the corpus of that foundation. The purpose of the foundation will be to have healthcare initiatives in Wrangell to benefit the community,” Walker said.

An advisory council made up of community members will oversee that foundation.

SEARHC’s absorption of the Wrangell medical provider is expected to be complete by January.