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Administrative Order No. 241

I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of art. III, secs. 1 and 24, of the Alaska Constitution, and in accordance with AS 44.19.028 and 44.19.145(c), establish the Alaska Psychiatric Institute Advisory Board in the office of the commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services (department).

Background and Purpose

The Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) is the only public inpatient psychiatric hospital in the state. API serves patients and families from all areas of the state and all social and economic backgrounds. API also plays a vital role in furthering the continuity of care for patients discharged to their home communities.

Because of its diverse responsibilities, API needs a strong advisory board that is focused on providing advice and recommendations to the commissioner of health and social services (commissioner) on how to meet the needs of API’s patients, the patients’ families, and the state. Since 1988, API has had a governing body appointed by the commissioner. Since the governing body has no legal responsibility for the conduct of API, confusion among the public can arise over the governing body’s role. Therefore, by this Order, the governing body of API is dissolved and a new interim Alaska Psychiatric Institute Advisory Board (advisory board) is established until statutory changes can be secured to make it a permanent advisory board to API.

The purpose of this Order is to establish the advisory board within the office of the commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services, to set out the advisory board’s responsibilities and membership, to set out other provisions relating to the advisory board, and to dissolve the existing governing body of API.

Duties of the Advisory Board

The advisory board is the primary advisory body to the commissioner of the department concerning API, including the Alaska Recovery Center and API satellite programs. The advisory board may not serve as a governing body legally responsible for the conduct of API as an institution. The advisory board shall perform the following duties:

  1. provide, to the committee of the department that performs the annual on-site evaluation of patient care at API, recommendations on all aspects of the strategic planning of API, including the development of API’s mission, vision, values, and treatment philosophy and attention;
  2. convene at least one meeting each quarter, establish committees of the advisory board, and request hospital staff to provide input and data on API; one meeting shall be designated as the annual meeting;
  3. at the advisory board’s annual meeting, develop an annual advisory board action plan and create committees of members of the advisory board to implement the plan; each committee shall meet at least monthly and give a full report at each regular advisory board meeting;
  4. review internal and external data of API for purposes of providing recommendations on evaluation and quality assurance and review improvement plans, recommending changes as necessary, with a particular focus on the principles of patient-centered care at API;
  5. provide a public forum for the discussion of issues related to the overall functioning and treatment processes of API and its satellite programs, including soliciting, evaluating, and responding to public input;
  6. develop and distribute position papers, research, statistics, and data to inform state policy affecting API;
  7. work with the director of API to provide recommendations regarding the director’s annual performance plan and provide input into the annual evaluation of the director;
  8. submit to the commissioner a list of names of potential candidates for the director of API when a vacancy occurs; if the commissioner considers hiring a candidate whose name is not on the advisory board’s list, the commissioner shall invite the input of the advisory board before hiring the candidate; and
  9. adopt by-laws consistent with this Order.


The advisory board consists of the following members appointed by the commissioner:

  1. six members representing the general public; members appointed under this paragraph must be or have been consumers of behavioral health services and have been diagnosed with one of the mental disorders listed in AS 47.30.056(d);
  2. one member representing each of the following interests, with preference given to individuals who are or have been consumers of behavioral health services and who have been diagnosed with one of the mental disorders listed in AS 47.30.056(d):
    1. a federally mandated protection and advocacy agency for persons with disabilities in this state;
    2. the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium or a similar non-profit health organization that provides statewide health services to Alaska Natives;
    3. a non-profit organization that receives a grant from the department for behavioral health matters;
    4. the Alaska Mental Health Board;
    5. a consumer who is at least 18 years of age, but less than 21 years of age;
  3. three ex officio non-voting members who are
    1. the director of the division of behavioral health in the department;
    2. the director of API; and
    3. the assistant medical director of API;
  4. not more than four additional non-voting members; the members appointed under this paragraph may include representatives of state agencies in the fields of education, vocational rehabilitation, criminal justice, housing, social services, medical assistance, substance abuse, and aging;
  5. a member from the Prince William Sound/Kenai Peninsula area representing the cities of Cordova, Seward, Valdez, and Whittier, the City and Borough of Yakutat, and the communities of Chenega Bay and Tatitlek;

The commissioner shall appoint members to the board after accepting and reviewing applications from the public. However, when making the initial appointments to the advisory board, the commissioner may appoint members of the former API governing body without the need for a new application. Before appointing to fill a vacancy in the advisory board after initial appointments, the commissioner shall consult with and consider the recommendations of advisory board members.

Other Provisions

Advisory board members do not receive compensation as a member of the advisory board. Members of the advisory board who are not state, federal, or local government employees are entitled to per diem and travel expenses in the same manner permitted for members of state boards and commissions. Per diem and travel expenses for a member of the advisory board who is a representative of a state or federal agency or local government are the responsibility of that agency or local government.

To reduce costs, the advisory board may use teleconferencing or other electronic means, to the extent practicable, in order to gain the widest public participation at minimum cost.

Meetings of the advisory board shall be conducted, and notice of regular meetings provided, in accordance with AS 44.62.310 and 44.62.320 (Open Meetings of Governmental Bodies). A majority of appointed voting members of the advisory board constitutes a quorum for conducting business.

The commissioner shall meet at least annually with the advisory board during its second or fourth quarter meeting to receive any recommendations of the advisory board.

Records of the advisory board are subject to inspection and copying as public records under AS 40.25.110 – 40.25.220.

This Order takes effect immediately.

DATED at 4:31, Alaska, this 1st day of July, 2008.

/s/Sarah Palin

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