South Peninsula Hospital

Photo Courtesy of South Peninsula Hospital

The final vote count isn’t in quite yet, but Kenai Peninsula Borough voters overwhelmingly approved two bond propositions Tuesday that will shift both the Central Peninsula and South Peninsula hospitals’ service area boundaries.

The CPH service area will move about 15 miles south to Barbara Drive in Ninilchik. SPH’s boundary will expand to include all communities on the south side of Kachemak Bay except for Seldovia.

Shahla Farzan / KBBI

Voters across the borough headed to the polls today to cast their ballots in favor of candidates for Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, service area boards and school board. Kenai Peninsula residents also weighed in on a few ballot propositions.

On the southern peninsula, incumbent Willy Dunne and businessman Troy Jones are running for the District 9 seat on the assembly.

City of Homer Planning and Zoning Department

The Kachemak Bay Medical Clinic will move ahead with the controversial construction of a new clinic near South Peninsula Hospital.  The Homer Advisory Planning Commission granted a conditional use permit to Dr. Paul Raymond, who works for Kachemak Bay Medical, for a roughly 20,000-square-foot building located between the hospital and the Homer Medical Center Wednesday.  

City of Homer Planning and Zoning Department

South Peninsula Hospital is speaking out against a proposal for a new clinic. Dr. Paul Raymond with the Kachemak Bay Medical Clinic is seeking a conditional use permit to build a roughly 20,000 square-foot clinic between South Peninsula Hospital and the Homer Medical Clinic.

The Kachemak Bay Medical Clinic is currently located off Bartlett St. The clinic  provides children’s health, wellness and preventive exams and occupational medicine, among other offerings. It’s not clear if the new clinic would provide additional services.

Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

Voters will have a chance to decide whether to expand two hospital service areas this fall. The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday to pass an ordinance that will put two propositions on the ballot. One would propose to shift the Central Peninsula Hospital service area south and the other would propose shifting the South Peninsula Hospital service area to include areas on the south side of Kachemak Bay.

Holly Torres

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is swamped with applications for programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and temporary assistance for families. But the backlog of applications for Medicaid is certainly the largest, and it’s hitting Alaskans with disabilities hard. Patients are often left without insurance and go weeks or even months just trying to get someone from the department on the phone.

Several women have brought forth allegations against a South Peninsula Hospital department manager in Homer, describing an environment of bullying and sexual harassment.

 

The allegations against Douglas Westphal, the former director of the hospital’s rehab department, also include one instance of alleged sexual assault. Complaints have also been filed with the state Division of Professional Licensing, the local union and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is set to introduce an ordinance that would move the boundary of the Central Peninsula Hospital service area south to include all of Ninilchik. The current boundary sits just south of Clam Gulch at about mile 119 on the Sterling Highway. The move would mean less tax revenue for the South Peninsula Hospital, but it would also significantly lower property taxes for Ninilchik residents, setting up a discussion that played out back in 2016 when a similar proposal failed.

South Peninsula Hospital

It's a good job market for healthcare professionals. The older population is driving the need for more care and hospitals are expanding their services. On the Kenai Peninsula, healthcare-support jobs are predicated to be the fastest growing occupation this year with the amount of jobs increasing by  2.5 percent. But recruiting healthcare workers to rural Alaska continues to be a challenge.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s population, like many places in Alaska, is aging.

South Peninsula Hospital

South Peninsula Hospital has a new CEO. Joe Woodin is taking over after Robert Letson retired this fall. Woodin has thirty years of experience in healthcare leadership in Massachusetts and Vermont. He said South Peninsula Hospital has similar qualities and challenges to the other small-sized hospitals where he’s worked.

Pages