Alaska hospital proposes cutting 6 programs

Juneau, Alaska-based Bartlett Regional Hospital is considering cutting back or closing six programs due to financial strain, Juneau Empire reported May 24.

The facility has suffered operating losses every year since 2000, when the City and Borough of Juneau transferred management of the facility to the hospital, according to the report. The hospital will hold a series of meetings and public comment events in coming months as it crafts plans for "non-core hospital services in light of the hospital's $10M annual budget deficit," Joe Wanner, Bartlett's chief financial officer, said in a presentation. The hospital's fund balance could be depleted in three years without significant changes.

Here are the six programs the hospital is considering closing or reducing along with some of the reasoning:

  • Rainforest Recovery Center, a 16-bed residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment program that is expected to lose nearly $800,000 next year.

  • ABA therapy, a program for individuals with autism, is expected to lose $536,000 next year due to payroll costs alone exceeding revenues. This Juneau School District program was taken over by Bartlett in June 2021 from a private contractor and the hospital said there are others planning to provide similar services in coming months.

  • Crisis Observation Services/Crisis Residential and Stabilization Services for Adults and Adolescents, due to facility layout and staffing, has only served adolescents.

  • Bartlett Outpatient Psychiatric Services is projected to lose $2.8 million next year, however the center plans to reduce or subsidize costs as preferred remedies to closing.

  • Home Health Services

  • Hospice Services

Home health and hospice services are vital to the community and Bartlett is attempting to find private companies that could take them over. Some board members said they want Barlett to continue operating them at a loss if necessary.

The board of directors is expected to approve the final recommendations for programs at its June 25 meeting.

Bartlett is still searching for a new CEO, the fourth leader in less than a year. 

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