Central Peninsula Hospital is moving to fill a gap in coverage after one of its on-call obstetricians decided to leave town, leaving two Ob-Gyns to cover all emergency needs at the hospital.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is considering an ordinance that would allow the hospital to purchase the Women’s Center of the Peninsula, 254 N. Binkley Street, after Dr. Jo Lynn Hawthorne announced her intention to leave the community at the end of July.
CPH Chief Executive Rick Davis said Hawthorne approached the hospital asking if it would purchase her practice. Davis told assembly members during a July 7 meeting that the two other obstetricians in town would not be able to take on all of Hawthorne’s patients. He did not know how many she has.
“We’re bringing in a temporary person to fill that gap,” he said.
Davis said the hospital would begin a search for a new obstetrics and gynecology specialist while the temporary doctor continued care at the Women’s Center.
“We didn’t want a break in service for all of these people,” said CPH External Affairs Manager Bruce Richards.
Neither Davis, nor Richards said why Hawthorne was leaving during or after the borough assembly meeting, just that her departure would be felt in the community. Davis said the hospital had not been involved in bringing her to Soldotna.
“We didn’t recruit her, she came up on vacation and she decided to move here,” he said.
Hawthorne has not been in the community for long. State licensing records show that Hawthorne incorporated the Women’s Center of the Peninsula Professional Corporation in January 2014, though Clarion archives show that the Women’s Center was opened in May of 2013.
Hawthorne did not return a call requesting comment on Tuesday.
With the purchase, the hospital would acquire the building and install a new temporary physician.
“Separate from the building, we’re working on equipment, furniture,” Davis said. “She leaves on Sunday, the new person shows up on Monday and the patients get continuity of care. It works out great for us because we can just stick a new person in there and the only thing that changes is the physician’s face.”
While the final purchase price has not been named, a fair market value assessment has yet to be performed according to borough documents. The Central Peninsula Hospital Board of Directors authorized the purchase with a cap of $850,000, according to a resolution it passed in May.
Reach Rashah McChesney at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens