What They’re Watching: Noel Rea

Noel Rea, president of Innovative Solutions of Alaska, joins us in this edition of What They’re Watching to discuss maintaining independence in Alaskan communities.

There’s a saying in Alaska if you’ve been to one Alaska village, you’ve been to one Alaska village. Every village is different. There’s a couple hundred different villages that are all very distinct. Every organization that I’ve been a part of has its own distinct culture. And, so, I think that it’s not a particular culture or a process necessarily, but I’ve seen organizations that attend to culture in identifying culture as they go about doing their work on a day-to-day basis. In my experience of seeing good results with Virginia Mason Medical Center, I know they’re not in Alaska, but they’ve done some strong leadership work in focusing on culture, starting with their board and working down through all their leadership. They are very consistent in how they present and engage with individuals and communities.

There’s an important need for smaller facilities or independent facilities to affiliate for expertise and support, but they want to maintain that independence, very Alaskan. I think there’s a real opportunity for affiliations to be developed to help facilities maintain that independence as much as they want it to be, rather than I think kind of a market driven, “Let’s consume facilities. Let’s take their profitable enterprises and shift those to the mother-ships,” so to speak. So, if there was an opportunity to provide support to some of the rural and independent facilities or a tertiary hospital could provide that support without absorbing them, I think that’s a real mix that needs to be done and something that we’re looking at.