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Clinic Board Responds to Letters From Public and Community Council

by Phillip Manning ~ July 10th, 2013

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On Wednesday, July 10th, the Sunshine Community Health Center Board of Directors released a letter responding to what it calls “numerous letters and communications from the community.”  The letters were written to the Board after news became public that the contract of Dr. Mary Loeb, Medical Director of the Sunshine Clinic, had not been renewed.

Last week, KTNA reported that community members expressed concern over the lack of public information regarding the circumstances of Dr. Loeb’s dismissal, and a letter, signed by nearly thirty residents, was read at the Talkeetna Community Council meeting on July 1st.  Concerned citizens as well as the Community Council, wrote letters to the Community Health Center Board asking for a special meeting to address community concerns.  The Board responded to the request in today’s letter, saying that, “There are no plans for a special public meeting.”

The Board’s letter also did not explain the reasons for Dr. Loeb’s dismissal.  The letter reads:

“Due to the confidential nature of contract and personnel issues, details that are being requested will not be appropriate to release to the public.  The decision not to renew Dr Loeb’s contract was made by the Executive Director and the Board supports Mr. Bryant’s decision.”

KTNA contacted Diane Ziegner, who drafted the letter that was read at the Talkeetna Community Council meeting.   She says that she is disappointed, but not surprised by the Board’s reaction.  Ziegner says she understands the reasoning behind not talking about personnel decisions, but also that it leaves a “gray area,” where the public does not know who to trust.  Cary Birdsall, Chairman of the Talkeetna Community Council, also expressed his regret at the Board’s decision:

“I’m sorry to hear that.  Our letter did indicate, in support of the community that is looking for some answers, that they would like to know sooner than later, especially because of the interruption in service and their own personal feelings about the well-being of Doctor Mary.”

The next regular meeting of the Sunshine Community Health Center Board of Directors is July 30th at 6:30 p.m.

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