On Tuesday, the Sunshine Community Health Center Board of Directors held its annual meeting, as well as its regular monthly meeting. The Board announced in advance that public comment was not on the agenda for the either meeting. Some community members still opted to attend, though not in the numbers that were seen at the meetings where they were permitted to address the Board.
The annual meeting began with the nomination of a slate of new officers. Afterwards, outgoing Board President Tom Phillips read a statement summarizing the last year at the Clinic.
“Sunshine Community Health Center has had a troubling year with the change in staff and leadership and provider care. The Board of Directors is aware of the concerns in the communities in which we serve. We are working through the many problems that exist and ask for your patience as we change the leadership of the Board at this annual meeting.”
The change of staff and leadership he mentions likely refers to the controversial decision not to renew the contract of former Medical Director Dr. Mary Loeb. Other providers have left since the departure of Dr. Loeb as well, leaving the Clinic to look to temporary providers until their spots can be filled on a permanent basis. Later in his statement, Tom Phillips addressed the financial state of the Sunshine Clinic.
“During the past year, and AT&T settlement has released some restricted funds, and the property for the Willow Clinic is debt-free. We have a substantial reserve fund to carry us forward, despite the negative news about Obamacare. Our competitive grant application for assistance through HRSA has been submitted, and now we wait for it to be processed.”
Following the Board President’s statement, Executive Director David Bryant gave his annual report, which did not directly address the issues surrounding Dr. Loeb’s departure, choosing instead to focus on areas where he believes the Clinic has made progress.
“The past year for Sunshine Community Health Center has been characterized by an ongoing process of discovery, challenge, and change in which policies and procedures, personnel, clinical accountability, training, IT structure and support, new and old facility mechanical systems, transportation program, collaborative relationships, and program oversight were all updated, improved, and, in some instances, created from scratch.”
The annual meeting concluded with the election of a new slate of officers for the Board, with David Sutton chosen as the new President.
After a short break, the Board was called to order for the monthly meeting. Committee reports were heard and projects were discussed, including a teleconferencing system between the Talkeetna and Willow locations. It was announced that Board member Bonnie O’Connor is resigning her seat on the Board of Directors. Both she and Board member Pam Robinson will end their terms on Thursday, October 31st. It was also revealed that a number of applications for the vacant seats have been received, and are being processed. No applications were ready for Board discussion and approval, and an exact number of applications was not disclosed.
The meeting adjourned at 7:30. The next regular meeting is scheduled for 6:30 pm on November 26th at the Talkeetna Clinic.