Less than two years after expanding the Sunshine Community Health Center to a third clinic in Wasilla, the nonprofit plans to close the doors of its new location this fall. The decision to close the Wasilla clinic was made at an emergency Sunshine board meeting on Labor Day.
Joshua Gilmore, the recently hired general manager of Sunshine, said the decision to close the Wasilla clinic was purely financial.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that it’s not just unsustainable, but it’s unsustainable to the point that if we don’t close it soon, it will jeopardize the integrity of the entire Sunshine Community Health Center.”
Gilmore says the shutdown won’t happen immediately and efforts are being made to ease patient transitions before the final day.
“We are going to transition from there as quickly and humanely as possible. What it looks like right now is an October 28 datee.”
The Wasilla clinic currently employs four physicians as well as medical and administrative support staff. Gilmore says Sunshine won’t be able to retain most of those doctors and a limited number of other positions are open at the Willow and Talkeetna sites.
“Dr. Forman will remain on board as Chief Medical Officer, but the other three, unfortunately, will not. As for the rest of the staff, we have approximately three full-time positions that are available while we carry out this transition as well as three temporary part-time positions.
Gilmore says the decision was difficult but necessary, and he hopes to build a stronger relationship between Sunshine and the northern Susitna Valley communities it serves.
“Looking to the future, I really see a lot of opportunities, both here in Talkeetna and in Willow and in the Trapper Creek area, to collaborate with our communities and create opportunities that wouldn’t exist otherwise.”
While patient visits will end in Wasilla on October 28eGilmore says the administrative wrap-up will last until the first week of November before Sunshine shuts down that facility completely.