By Melinda Munson
The Skagway Borough Assembly came out of executive session at 11:30 p.m on Feb. 3 with two action items related to Dahl Memorial Clinic (DMC).
The first item, proposed by Assemblymember Orion Hanson, was to “direct staff to prepare a draft of an ordinance to allow consideration of a public ballot vote for the sale of the clinic, the clinic assets, the clinic building, the clinic land to SEARHC.”
The measure passed in a 4-2 vote with assembly members Jay Burnham and Sam Bass voting no.
Hanson then moved to “recommend the mayor place two assembly members on the voting nine-person clinic board.” All assembly members voted yes.
In closing remarks, Hanson said that one reason people are moving away is “inadequate health care.”
“…the failings of our health care fall on the shoulders of the people on the assembly, including myself. The path we’ve stayed on is not working, the overturn at the clinic is completely not sustainable. And we live in a tiny place. And if you can’t get health care, what do you do?” Handon said.
DMC recently lost their permanent RN. Additionally, a seasonal RN did not complete her contract. The interim executive director, hired for a three month contract, was in Skagway only briefly, and will fulfill her work remotely as the clinic searches for a replacement executive director.
The clinic is currently hiring a nurse practitioner/physician’s assistant, medical assistant, receptionist, administrative assistant and other positions.
Newly appointed Clinic Board of Directors President Jeremy Simmons was not ready to comment on the assembly’s decision to replace two board members with assembly members. He did understand the assembly’s intent to move forward with a vote on the future of the clinic.
“That’s a necessary thing. The community needs to make a decision. It’s hard to do what we need to do while that decision is hanging over our head,” he said