API management hires new psychiatrists - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, October 26, 2020
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API management hires new psychiatrists

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Wellpath, the company contracted to step in as emergency managers of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, has hired four new psychiatrists.

Two are full-time, one works part time, and the fourth is a temporary. All are licensed in Alaska, said Jeremy Barr, divisional president with Wellpath.

“The first psychiatrist has already started at API with the other three scheduled to start in the next 10 days. Additionally, we had significant representation at this past weekend’s Alaska Psychiatric Association conference in Girdwood and are continuing to recruit for qualified professionals,” he said.

In February, Wellpath was tasked by the Department of Health and Social Services to assume management of API, after the facility was on the verge of being decertified due to myriad management problems that worsened under the Walker Administration.

Two psychiatrists were released in December, but have sued to get their jobs back, saying they were terminated because they refused to take an oath of loyalty.

Another psychiatrist has said she will be leaving in May.

The hiring of the four new psychiatrists contradicts what Rep. Zack Fields said in House Health and Social Services committee last week, when he claimed that Wellpath was hemorrhaging psychiatrists.

He has introduced HB 86 to prevent private management of API.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Mental Health Trust has awarded the State $150,000 to deal with the backlog of people who are in jail because they area waiting for psychiatric evaluations.

Some 45 Trust beneficiaries are in a Department of Corrections facility waiting for evaluations, and with the funds the State may be able to get through the backlog by mid-May.

API has numerous safety and capacity issues that have arisen in the facility, which is currently only half full, and yet doesn’t have room to admit patients who need care.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • From the looks of this article….The Dunleavy decision is really short on good sense. Wellpath needs to go!!! The Alaska Psychiatry group has no experts in them at this time or ever. The real experts are in the Seattle area and have been for over a hundred years. That is where research, national and international psychiatrists locate to work together. We have no experts here in the state. Dunleavy is really behind the eight ball on the federal reports and should take Walker to task over the serious problems at API. The Mental Health Trust is hiding a lot when they are so eager to have “anyone” or “any organization” such as this prison group take control. Dunleavy is really short on good sense and good decisions here. The people in API do not deserve what they are going to get with Dunleavy’s poor decision on this. The people of the state and city need to speak up and not let this stand.

  • Has Byron Mallott checked out of API yet? Group therapy sessions for THAT kind of sexual misbehavior tends to be long-lasting.

  • When did they get asked to give an oath of loyalty S.? That definitely is wavering towards cult agendas.

  • Oh look – Wellpath just hired Blanford back. How come you’re not reporting this? How much did Dunleavy’s loyalty pledge stunt cost the state? What a joke.

    • Yep! And the director Brodie, under Call, in charge of managing Medicaid and Health Care Facility Licensing and Certification, is out as of yesterday. Curious I can’t find this information on ADN today. I get why it’s not here, and starting to get why not ADN.

  • Pass the laughing gas around.. Time for a good chuckle….

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