President’s Update for Dec. 30, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition …

SEARHC Strategic Plan posted online: The updated SEARHC Strategic Plan is available on the SEARHC website, http://searhc.org/publications/strategic_plan.php (scroll down for links to PDF documents of the actual 2012 strategic plan and FY2011 strategic goals). The new version of the plan involves feedback from SEARHC communities, board members, management and employees. It updates our previous five-year strategic plan for 2006-10. The plan is designed to help us remain responsive to our mission, goals and core values as we continue to grow and provide high quality health care services. One of the biggest changes is we extended the strategic plan to a six-year plan, which helps our timing so we can identify operational priorities every two years. The shorter two-year operational priorities list will help us be more responsive to the rapidly changing health care industry. The strategic goals help us better allocate our limited resources so we can make sure our core services are provided as we continue to grow and expand our services.

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Sitka to host S’áxt’ Hít’ Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Nursing Summit: The Sitka nursing staff is working with the SEARHC Employee Wellness Team to host the inaugural S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Nursing Summit from 1-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Sweetland Hall on the old Sheldon Jackson College campus. This event is open to all Sitka-based SEARHC registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, technicians, ward clerks, nurse-focused administrative and support staff, and any other SEARHC staff members who work closely with and want the best for nursing at the hospital. During the event, the nurses will describe their ideal work situations and brainstorm ideas on how to move closer to the shared vision of success for the next year. They also will decide on a couple of initiatives to pursue during 2012. During the summit, there will be some nurses still staffing the hospital. But they have been encouraged to participate by sending in their ideas before the start of the summit. Doug Osborne and Mary Therese Thompson will facilitate this event.

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Kake Day centennial celebration plans include health/career fair: The City of Kake will celebrate 100 years of ‘Kake Day’ on Sunday, Jan. 8. Historically, Kake Day represented a day for all of Kake to celebrate the day in 1912 when the community became an incorporated first-class city government in the territory of Alaska. Although the day represented a positive step concerning western civilization, it was a contentious issue within Kake regarding traditional ways of governing. These days Kake Day not only is a celebration of the accomplishments of government and school/education, but also the Alaska Native community celebrating the history of Kake Tlingít ways. Please join Kake on Jan. 6-8, as it celebrates its centennial. Friday, Jan. 6, will feature a parade at 9 a.m.; a health, career, and arts and crafts fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with at least 12 SEARHC programs hosting tables; and a social and silent auction at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, is dedicated to an overview about how Kake Day has influenced local Tlingít culture and protocol. Sunday, Jan. 8, is the actual Kake Day and it starts with a church service in the morning followed by a dinner program and celebration in the evening.

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SEARHC offers free indoor air discussion in Kake: SEARHC will offer a free discussion about indoor air quality and how it impacts your health and safety on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Kake Senior Center. The discussion takes place directly following lunch, about 12:45 p.m. Mold, tobacco, carbon monoxide, wood smoke, pet dander, aromatic chemicals and other sources of air pollution can be found inside many homes in Southeast Alaska. People tend to spend more time indoors with their doors and windows closed during the winter. This means people are exposed to unhealthy indoor air pollution sources, which can trigger health issues such as asthma, headaches, nausea, carbon monoxide poisoning and more. SEARHC Environmental Health Director Jim Clare and Environmental Health Technician Andrew Atkinson will discuss how to protect your home and family from unhealthy indoor air. For more information about this discussion, contact SEARHC Kake Elder Care Resource Coordinator Margo Wilson at 785-6536. To learn more about the importance of clean, healthy indoor air in Alaska, go to http://www.epa.gov/region10/tribal/air/alaska.html, or go to http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/careforyourair.html for general clean indoor air quality tips. Van rides home will be provided to elders attending the discussion, and refreshments will be served.

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Anchorage patient advocate recruiting: The Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) is recruiting an Anchorage-based patient advocate who will work with KANA and SEARHC patients seeking care at the Alaska Native Medical Center. The patient advocate will be based with the Customer Experience staff at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC). This position is shared by KANA and SEARHC, with supervision from KANA. The patient advocate serves as a customer liaison for KANA and SEARHC patients who travel to Anchorage to receive care at ANMC. The patient advocate helps patients and their families use and navigate the Alaska Tribal Health Care System. The patient advocate also ensures patients receive the highest quality health care possible and are satisfied with the care provided. To learn more about the open position and its job requirements, go to http://www.kanaweb.org/html/jobs.php and scroll down to the Patient Advocate job listing. Applications are due by Friday, Jan. 6. For more information, contact the KANA Human Resources Department at 907-486-9800 (in Kodiak) or send an e-mail to hr@kanaweb.org. For now, SEARHC and KANA patients who need help while seeking treatment at ANMC or the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium should call the main number at the ANMC Customer Experience department (729-3990) to receive support. Once the KANA/SEARHC patient advocate for Anchorage is hired, a new release will be issued with the direct number for assistance.

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Just a reminder …

SEARHC patient advocates serve as customer liaisons: SEARHC has three patient advocates in Southeast Alaska — Bryan Whitson (Sitka), Ashley Hunt (Juneau) and Cyndi Reeves (POW) — who serve as customer service liaisons between patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate their way through SEARHC’s health system. SEARHC and the Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) share an Anchorage-based patient advocate, who serves SEARHC and KANA patients receiving care at the Alaska Native Medical Center (the SEARHC/KANA position currently is under recruitment and patients can call the Alaska Native Medical Center Customer Experience Department at 729-3990 until it is filled). Patients living in Sitka, Angoon, Kake, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, Yakutat, Petersburg and Wrangell should contact Bryan Whitson at 966-8860. Patients in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Hoonah should contact Ashley Hunt at 463-6656. Patients in Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Thorne Bay and other POW communities should contact Cyndi Reeves at 755-4983 (965-0040, cell). Patients traveling to Anchorage for care should contact the patient advocate at 729-3992 (942-5867, cell).

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SEARHC adds 24/7 on-call travel coordinators: Are you a SEARHC patient who needs after-hours help while traveling for a medical appointment? SEARHC now has a 24/7 on-call travel number. A staff person is on call to help you when your flight has been diverted due to weather or you need late-night help with housing. For assistance, call 1-800-916-8566 (toll-free in Alaska) or 1-907-966-8345 in Sitka and follow the prompts for assistance. To help us better help you, please call as soon as you can get to a phone after you know your flight has been changed.

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SEARHC hosts 24/7 crisis help line, toll-free at 1-877-294-0074: 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 it will be 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/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown at 966-8753.

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Ken Truitt SEARHC Interim President/CEO