President’s Update for Dec. 24, 2010

In this edition...

In this edition … Staff appreciation: On Thursday, Dec. 16, SEARHC honored its Sitka employees with longevity awards and celebrated the holidays with a baked halibut dinner. This event drew about 175 employees and family members/friends to Harrigan Centennial Hall. The Noow Tlein Dancers performed and the Executive Management Team presented awards to those employees celebrating a five-year hire anniversary (or 10-, 15-, and even 35-year anniversary). Similar award ceremonies will take place in other SEARHC communities over the next few months. Thank you to Kamala Rogers for organizing this event, to Stewart Pook for serving as master of ceremonies and to the Litehouse Cafeteria staff for cooking such a fine meal. It was an honor to thank our employees for their valuable service. Back to top Congress passes another continuing resolution: On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Congress passed another continuing resolution that will fund the federal government until March 4, 2011. Congress did not adopt a budget before the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year, and this continuing resolution was the fourth of the legislative session. It funds the government at 2010 funding levels. As shared in earlier reports, continuing resolutions, cause challenges in our cash management, since we have so many prepayments and up-front costs at the start of the fiscal year. This means we will not receive our full-year compact payment until Congress reconvenes after the holidays and finally adopts the budget. Back to top Strategic Planning Committee: Our Board’s Strategic Planning Committee met on Wednesday, Dec. 15, to review the efforts the Board developed at its September 2010 work session. The committee members reviewed a list of core services and factors for setting priorities from year to year with available funds. Staff was asked to compile a gap analysis considering the committee’s recommended core services for each community and the consortium. Next steps for the committee are to send a copy of the full September 2010 report to all Board members, review and discuss the service gap analysis, and develop criteria for priority setting in January. Back to top SEARHC receives diabetes grant funding: On Dec. 21st, SEARHC received the renewal funding for its main diabetes grant. The grant’s $874, 397 budget funds the salaries of our diabetes educators, some of our registered dietitians, some of our community wellness advocates and the salaries a grant manager and health educator. The grant also funds education efforts and other initiatives. The grant funding is for the 2011 calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). Back to top SEARHC hosts Dental Health Aide conference: The second annual Dental Health Aide Conference was held Dec. 6-10 in Juneau. Kimberly Moler, DHA I (Kake), Tina Gamble, DHA I (Angoon), Kyla Westcott, DHA I (Pelican), Chris Cook, DHA II (Juneau), Lexi Olsen, DHA II (Juneau), Shannon Spud, DHA I (Klukwan/Haines) and Dental Health Aide trainee's Selma Stonebreaker and Tatiana Perkins from Sitka attended this conference. Lisa Cone, RDH, the Dental Prevention Manager, was responsible for the coordination, set-up and training that was done at this conference. In order to retain their federal certification, Dental Health Aides are required to participate in continuing dental education (CDE). This conference provided the necessary CDE. The conference was sponsored through a two-year American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant. This grant will end March 2011. Back to top Panoramic imaging machine installed in Juneau: The Juneau Dental Clinic received funding through the Indian Health Service Office of Information Technology for a digital orthopantomagraph (Pano) machine. The machine is capable of capturing panoramic and cephalometric images. These images are helpful in diagnosing conditions relating to the maxilla and mandible (upper and lower jaws). The cost of the machine was close to $80,000. With this purchase, all of the SEARHC Juneau Dental imaging equipment is digital. This is also important as chemicals are no longer required to process images. We have a similar machine in Sitka, but it uses film. Back to top Group to host New Year’s Eve suicide prevention event in Sitka: Sitka residents are invited to participate in the “Hands Across the Bridge” suicide prevention/awareness event from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Friday, Dec. 31. People will gather starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street to remember those who have been lost to suicide and to reach out to those who need a hand. Clergy from around Sitka will say a prayer about 6 p.m., and then people will be invited to share their memories and reflect on those who have been lost. About 7:30 p.m., members of the group will walk to the O’Connell Bridge where they will hold a candlelight vigil for those who have been lost to suicide and to show their support for the surviving family members and friends. This event is sponsored by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Behavioral Health Prevention/Suicide Prevention program and the Sitka branch of the “1 is 2 Many” regional suicide prevention task force for Southeast Alaska. For more information, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention/Suicide Prevention Community Project Assistant Sheryl McAllister at 966-8933 or call Sitka Counseling And Prevention Services (SCAPS) Intake/Quality Assurance Specialist Carol Lundy at 747-3636. Back to top SEARHC clinics to be closed for Christmas, New Year’s Day holidays: So our employees can enjoy the holidays with their families, all SEARHC clinics will be closed on Friday, Dec. 24, for Christmas Eve, and Friday, Dec. 31, for New Year’s Eve. The S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital clinics that normally are open on Saturday (urgent care, eye clinic, etc.) will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 25, for Christmas. The hospital urgent care department will be open on Saturday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day, but all other Saturday clinics throughout the consortium will be closed. The hospital emergency room will be open throughout the holidays, and we will have staff on duty to take care of our inpatients staying at the hospital. Our remote clinics that provide emergency services will have on-call staffing during the holidays. Back to top SEARHC Help Line (toll-free, 1-877-294-0074) available for holiday stress relief: A personal or family crisis doesn’t always happen during clinic hours, so the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division has contracted with a crisis call center to provide help for Southeast Alaska residents when they need it most. The SEARHC Help Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is staffed with a team of master’s-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate care. This line provides confidential telephone counseling for people during a time of mental health crisis, and it is not just an answering service. The counselors will assess the situation and provide appropriate intervention using protocols developed with SEARHC Behavioral Health. Follow-up calls from SEARHC Behavioral Health or our partner agencies will be made the next business day. For more information, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention Program Director Wilbur Brown at 966-8753. Back to top Regards, Roald