Wilson elected president of WMC board
The WMC Board in session
The newly constituted Wrangell Medical Center Board of Directors held their first meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at City Hall to elect officers and plan for upcoming meetings as a group and with other officials.
Board member Woody Wilson was elected as the president of the group over Bernie Massin in a 6-3 vote, with Terri Henson nominating Wilson and Dorothy Hunt-Sweat nominating Massin.
During discussion, Hunt-Sweat spoke up first in favor of Massin.
“My reason for suggesting Bernie is because he was very lively last night,” referring to the Borough Assembly meeting on Aug. 28. “I really appreciated that. I think that he will be like the rest of us, with a lot to learn. But, I just think he would make a real good president.”
Judy Allen echoed Hunt-Sweat’s sentiments.
“I agree with Dorothy, only my reasons are a little bit different,” she said. “I would like to have Bernie as our president because, I don’t know if he was born here, I’m guessing maybe he was, but he was raised in this community (and) has deeper roots in this community than just about any of us. Plus, he has cultural roots that none of the rest of us will ever have.”
Henson spoke about her reason for nominating Wilson.
“My reasons for nominating Woody would be his experience with meetings and the information he brought forth,” Henson said. “I think he did a lot of research and he had a lot of information to provide. I just think he would be able to conduct a meeting and has the experience to do so.”
Board member Megan Clark also spoke in favor of Wilson as the board’s president.
“Woody did some excellent research,” Clark added. “Probably over-researched like I would have. So, I really think I like Woody.”
Massin was elected as vice chair of the board unanimously, with Henson tapped as the secretary to the group and Cori Robinson named as the board’s treasurer.
After an oral request by Tideline Clinic physician Greg Salard, the board opted not to elicit public input during the meeting with interim administrator Olinda White stating that no comments would be taken.
“No, we will not add Persons to be Heard,” White told Salard. “We’ve been instructed not to have that at this meeting.”
White later said the decision was based on the opinion of Borough Attorney Bob Blasco that an agenda item for public comment was not required at the first meeting.
“That was Mr. Blasco’s instruction,” she added. “We didn’t have to do it at this meeting.”
The board then set dates and times for four meetings to be held in September, beginning with a workshop that took place Sept. 5 at the hospital. The workshop was open to the public, but no comment or public input was heard.
An executive session to meet with Blasco is set for Sept. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. Two days later, on Sept. 12, the board will meet at the hospital again to train with a risk management professional as required by the hospital’s insurance carrier.
The first regular, open session will be held on Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the hospital.
After the meeting concluded, Salard passed out a letter and CD-ROM package to members of the board asking them to reconsider his privileges at the hospital.
“I am requesting that you, the newly elected members of the WMC Board of Directors, reconsider and reverse an action taken by the recalled members you are replacing,” the letter states. “Specifically, I ask that you reconsider my application for privileges at WMC. Some of you may not be aware that my application was vetted by Bartlett Hospital, and our own Credentials Committee recommended approval, as did the WMC Medical Staff. In spite of these opinions by medical experts, the board denied my application.”
The letter also states that Salard has been credentialed at 13 different hospitals in the past, and holds unrestricted privileges at hospitals in Arkansas and Louisiana.
“Prior to the actions of the previous administrator and your recalled predecessors, I have never been denied or lost privileges at any hospital. But now I must go through the embarrassing process of explaining this to the medical boards of three states every year when I renew my medical licenses, as well as to every hospital when I renew or apply for privileges for the rest of my life!”
The CD-ROM attached to the package contains a number of documents related to Salard’s fair review hearing, legal documents about his administrative appeal, and an affidavit by Wrangell resident Danika-Rae Smalley retracting a 2011 complaint against him.
“I wrote a complaint against Dr. Greg Salard in 2011. I would like to retract my previous statement,” Smalley’s affidavit states. “I was unaware that my complaint would be taken into court and viewable by the public. If I would have been aware of this, I would have never written the statement. I believe Dr. Salard is a good doctor.”
Salard also pointed out his reticence to include a report by Juneau attorney Budd Simpson, related to an investigation made into the physician’s background last year – and pointed out that the document is available for them through Blasco or the hospital administrator.