PeaceHealth, the organization that runs Ketchikan Medical Center, soon will form a partnership with Catholic Health Initiatives.

Pat Branco, the Ketchikan Medical Center CEO, said the partnership will benefit both organizations.

“First it’s important to clear up any misnomers about mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships,” he said. “Partnerships are the most positive of all these relationships, in which two strong companies come together to help what should be a combined effort to make a really terrific company without losing the identity of the individual companies involved.”

Branco said the Northwest portion of Catholic Health Initiatives will start working with PeaceHealth, in hopes that the partnership will make both organizations stronger. However, he said, it won’t make a big difference to Ketchikan.

“The impact for us in Ketchikan is none,” he said. “There is unlikely to be any change of any kind that will be noticeable to the service or the provision of care, or legal standing. The benefit that we see is that we might have better access to specialty services that might come up here periodically that we don’t already enjoy.”

Branco said Ketchikan’s hospital is special.

“We always say we’re special, everybody wants to be special, but we truly are,” he said. “Because in this partnership, there’s real strength in having an Alaska hospital associated.”

He said Ketchikan Medical Center is the only Alaska hospital in either organization’s system.

Branco said PeaceHealth is healthy and strong, and in fact is the stronger partner of the two. He said the reason to join with CHI now is to remain strong into the future as health care changes.

“The worst time ever to do a merger, an acquisition, a JV or a partnership is when you’re struggling,” he said. “Because then as a result you end up losing something along the way.”

The process of joining the two organizations has begun. Branco said that process should last about six months.