Five days before Christmas, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will vote on whether or not to approve a 22-bed, $16.5 million long-term care facility next to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center.
The facility is a nursing home in all but name, though it could be used by someone suffering from an injury that requires extensive rehabilitation.
Thanks to the state’s complicated system for certifying new medical centers, paperwork for the new facility is already moving forward more than a month before the assembly has its official say.
Alaska law requires new or expanded medical facilities to obtain a “certificate of need,” a piece of paperwork that states the new facility is needed and doesn’t conflict with an existing facility.
“We have thresholds for CONs, so if somebody can build something under $1.4 million, they don't need a CON, except if it's a nursing home bed expenditure,” said Karen Lawfer, the state’s CON coordinator in Juneau.
The Kodiak Island Borough submitted its CON paperwork on Nov. 9, and anyone intending to compete with the borough’s long-term care facility has until Dec. 4 to submit a letter of intent in order to be considered along with the borough.
No such competitor is likely, but it’s the first step in a review process that may stretch to April, Lawfer said.
Interim borough manager Bud Cassidy said that even though the borough is pressing ahead with planning and paperwork, the assembly would be able to stop the project on Dec. 20 with few consequences.
Three items are scheduled for vote on that date: a contract with Providence Health and Services, which will operate the center; approval of $16.5 million in public bonds to pay for construction; and a construction contract.
“If the assembly shoots down any of those, it would be a no-go,” Cassidy said.
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