Questions for Bob
What is your position on acquiring a new hospital?
The current hospital was built in the mid 1980’s. It has served the community well over the years. The clinic has been changed and remodeled several times in the interim. There have been several assessments on remodeling the current hospital. The conclusion is that it would be expensive and very disruptive over a period of years. I have read these assessments which are available to you on line at pmcak.org. I have also toured the hospital numerous times. While I would like to keep a hospital in the current location, it is more advantageous to the community to build one on a new site.
The current debate that $80 million is too much to replace the hospital, is an interesting point. There are only 4 options available:
keep the current facility until it totally fails;
look for an outside corporation or group that is willing to take it over;
bond for construction; or
seek outside sources of funding.
The Hospital Board and the Assembly have addressed each option at one time or another. Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) has been the choice of some residents. During numerous dialogues between the Assembly and representatives of SEARHC, there were no complete answers to the questions raised by the community, Assembly and Hospital Board members. When asked if the community could have a voting representative on the board, the answer was No, maybe a representative. Without a voting member how can the needs of the community be truly represented? When asked what services would be provided, the answer was what we think you should have.
If you decide that SEARHC and the community are not a good match, which I have decided, then the next choice is to bond or to seek outside financing. The Borough does not have the financial capability to bond. Even if we did, I would not be in favor of bonding as there are a multitude of other needs. That leaves seeking outside financing as the Hospital Board, Hospital CEO and the Borough Assembly have agreed to do. To date the Borough and PMC have been successful in obtaining $28 million with the help of both Senator Murkowski and State Senator Stedman. That puts the Borough in a position to get all the ground work completed and to start construction.
Where do you stand on providing funding for child care?
Bob working on handicap ramp at the Children's Center