Benefits & Services

Union Leadership




October 14, 2020

If you work at API, or even if you don’t, you might have heard that the private company, WellPath Recovery Solutions, hired by the State last year to take over API has left the facility, hopefully for good. This is a huge victory not only for members at API but every employee statewide.

WellPath has a horrible track record when it comes to patient safety and care. There have been numerous reports of negligence on the part of this billion-dollar company. See this article about COVID-19 outbreaks at a state psychiatric hospital in South Carolina and this article about dangerous jail births at a correction facility in Florida.  

The State originally hired WellPath to address issues and concerns at API brought on by massive budget cuts over the last several years. Instead of addressing chronic staffing shortages, the Administration sought a contract outside the bounds of the collective bargaining agreement between ASEA and the State at a cost of $1,000,000 a month. Numerous ASEA members left API during the turbulent 18 months that followed, causing the State to lose valuable, qualified, dedicated employees. We know that ASEA members get the job done. And when WellPath came in under highly questionable circumstances, ASEA members spoke up saying their jobs weren’t for sale. ASEA filed suit and stopped WellPathfrom taking over. 

ASEA Executive Director, Jake Metcalfe, and ASEA Business Agent, Doug Carson, recently met with the new API CEO, Scott York, and API HR Manager, Pat Higgins. During that meeting, a number of issues were discussed. ASEA was told that API plans to increase the number of beds available for admission.  ASEA also discussed the possibility of privatization with some other outfit.  ASEA was told that no decision has been made regarding privatization and no decision is expected in the near future.  ASEA will continue to monitor these issues and will immediately let you know of any developments. In any event, as a result of the meeting, ASEA is guardedly optimistic that the work environment will improve at API.  A lot of damage has been done and it will take time to repair that damage, improve morale, and regain your trust.  

As Alaskans working for Alaska know, this is a state where we take care of our own. ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 members are on the frontlines of the critical services that are delivered to Alaskans at our Psychiatric hospital, Pioneer Homes, Correction Facilities, Juvenile Detention Centers, and more. Alaska doesn’t need, and never will need, a for-profit corporation to profit off of vulnerable Alaskans. What Alaska needs is to invest in its people and critical services that keep Alaskans healthy and keep our state moving forward.

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