ANCHORAGE – Noel Rea has been chosen by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to serve as the new interim chief executive officer (CEO) for the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API). John Lee, who had been serving as acting CEO, will return to his role as director of the Senior and Disabilities Services Division.
Rea comes to API with 30 years of experience in Alaska working for public, private and tribal health care delivery systems. He was a senior director at NetworxHealth, a health care consulting division of Virginia Mason Medical Center, and has served as an interim CEO for other Alaska hospitals, including South Peninsula Hospital, Cordova Community Medical Center and Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).
He received his Master in Business Administration in Health Care Administration from Alaska Pacific University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University. Rea is active in the community, serving as a current board member for Anchorage Project Access, an organization that works to increase access to health care for low income, uninsured individuals; past board member for the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center; and he just completed his term as president of the Alaska chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
“I’m pleased to be given the opportunity to provide leadership at API during this transition. There is a strong team in place and I will focus on ensuring the staff and governing board have the information and resources they need to succeed,” Rea said.
Rea steps in to manage API just as it returns to good standing with federal and state regulators after a recent survey of the facility. On Dec. 27, 2019 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) notified DHSS that API is “in substantial compliance” with their requirements and found no deficiencies. At the same time, API’s “deemed status” through The Joint Commission, an independent accreditation organization, was restored and it was removed from the State Survey Agency Jurisdiction.
API has been under a notice of termination from CMS since Sept. 24, 2019, after CMS surveyed the facility in response to a complaint and found API out of compliance with federal requirements. The team at API addressed the deficiencies through a plan of correction and after the subsequent unannounced survey, CMS withdrew their termination action.
Deputy Commissioner Albert Wall said, “As the API Governing Body continues the search for the right person to manage API, we are fortunate to have Noel Rea on board to help us as we strive to provide a safe, therapeutic environment for Alaskans in need of help during times of crisis.”
Rea took over responsibility for API on Monday, Jan. 13. Visit the API web page for more information about the facility.