Kenai assembly alters role of hospital board

Posted: Friday, March 24, 2000

KENAI (AP) -- The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has changed the role of an elected board that will oversee management of the hospital service area for the central Kenai Peninsula.

The assembly on Tuesday amended the draft bylaws proposed by the Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board. In the draft bylaws, the board has said its mission was ''to promote community health by serving as a catalyst to define and coordinate public health policy within the service area.''

The assembly amended the statement by eliminating any broad look at community health care needs.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough owns Central Peninsula General Hospital, and the service area raises about $1 million per year in property taxes to help support it. Nonprofit CPGH Inc. leases and operates the hospital under a contract it signed in 1997.

The assembly created the elected board in 1997 to advise on service area matters. In 1998, it directed the board to make recommendations on CPGH Inc. proposals that require assembly approval and on requests for service area funds from CPGH Inc. or other groups.

It also directed the service area board to identify available health services and unmet needs and recommend how to address the latter. The board wrote bylaws and goals and sent them for assembly approval in January.

The new preamble, suggested by Kenai assembly member Tim Navarre, says the service area board should advise the mayor and the assembly on ''the service area, review and recommend the annual service area budget, and perform additional functions as the assembly may authorize.''

The assembly passed Navarre's amendments on a 5-1 vote. It postponed a vote to approve the amended bylaws until April 4. Nikiski assembly member Jack Brown, who cast the lone dissenting vote, questioned the board's value if Navarre's amendments stick.

''If he's going to so restrict what they can do, why even have them?'' he asked.

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