SEARHC hires Charles Clement as president and CEO: The SEARHC Board of Directors has hired Charles Clement, MPA, as its new president/CEO. Charles will be based at the SEARHC Executive Offices in Juneau. SEARHC General Counsel Ken Truitt will serve as interim president/CEO during the period between my departure on Dec. 16 and Charles’ arrival in early February. An Alaska Native of Tsimshian and Athabascan heritage, Charles currently serves as the vice president of operations/chief operating officer for Southcentral Foundation, the regional tribal health care organization based in Anchorage with over 1,400 employees and an annual budget of $200 million. Southcentral Foundation also jointly owns and manages the Alaska Native Medical Center with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), and Charles serves as treasurer on the ANTHC Board of Directors.
Charles played an instrumental role in Southcentral Foundation becoming the first Alaska health care organization to earn the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award announced by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce last month. He helped develop Southcentral Foundation’s nationally and internationally recognized “Nuka System of Care.” Over the last decade, this relationship-based system has effected dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction and health outcomes, while reducing emergency room visits by half and hospital days by 35 percent. Serving as VP/COO, Charles has participated in all levels of operation at Southcentral Foundation. Charles graduated from Metlakatla High School, and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and political science from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
SEARHC mourns passing of former board members Viola Burgess and Doloresa Cadiente: It has been a sad week for us at SEARHC as longtime former board members Viola Burgess of Hydaburg and Doloresa Cadiente of Juneau passed away. Viola served on the board from 1976-2002, and she was board chair for many of those years. She chaired the board in 1986 when SEARHC assumed management of the Mt. Edgecumbe Service Unit from the Indian Health Service, and she was chair in 2000 when we started construction on the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau. Doloresa served on the board three times, from 1993-99, 2003-04 and 2006-08, and she was instrumental in a FASD diagnostic clinic being established in Juneau. Doloresa also was a former Grand Camp President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, and tribal court chief justice for the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Viola and Doloresa still were active in their local tribal groups, and both served as presidents (Viola with the Hydaburg Cooperative Association and Doloresa with the Tlingít and Haida Indians of the City and Borough of Juneau. These two women were significant contributors to the development of SEARHC. Viola and Deloresa will be greatly missed by her friends and family at SEARHC.
SEARHC receives grant for MEHS Student Health Center: On Thursday, Dec 8, SEARHC’s Mt. Edgecumbe High School (MEHS) Student Health Center had been awarded $233,000 as part of Affordable Care Act support for school-based health centers. The grant will be used by SEARHC and the State of Alaska Department of Education (which operates the boarding school in Sitka) to renovate and improve the clinic space. We currently have 1,000 square feet of old dormitory space. We will use the money to make the space more compliant to the American Disability Act, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the health privacy law) and other renovations to improve cleanliness and clinic office flow. We also will be upgrading the sick bay rooms. We expect half of the project will have major renovations and the other half will be minor fixes. We were the only Alaska facility out of the 45 school-based health centers around the country to receive this grant.
ANHB quarterly meeting report: The Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) quarterly meeting was held Dec. 1-2 in Anchorage, and the ANHB adopted several recommendations by the Association of Tribal Health Directors. A set of FY2013 state and federal legislative priorities were proposed and given to the ANHB Legislative Committee for evaluation. ANHB wrote a letter of support for the Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES) specific to Alaska Native people. ANHB also supported a request by the Tribal Behavioral Health Directors’ for a Medicaid State Plan Amendment that includes payment for services provided by Behavioral Health Aides/Practitioners. ANHB made recommendations for representatives to state/federal advisory committees, work groups and associations; elected officers to the executive committee. Lincoln Bean of the Organized Village of Kake was elected chair representing the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Jan Hill (Chilkoot Indian Association), SEARHC’s representative, was elected treasurer. Members were also assigned to standing committees.
Leslie Dye appointed Executive Officer for the Alaska Area Native Health Service, IHS: On Dec. 1, the Indian Health Service (IHS) appointed Capt. (retired) Leslie Dye, MBA, BSN, as the Executive Officer for the Alaska Area Native Health Service. Mr. Dye previously worked at the Alaska Native Medical Center from 1986-90 as a nurse manager on the surgical floor and as the area nurse recruiter. Over his three decades of service, he worked in virtually every type of health care setting in the Indian Health Service, from reservation-based clinics to IHS hospitals of all sizes. He ran 34 federal occupational health clinics through a multi-million-dollar staffing contract in the Midwest, and he was CEO at the remote Neah Bay Service in Washington and helped the Makah assume program management through the Title V compacting process. Most recently was the director of the office of clinical support in the Portland Area IHS. He retired on Nov. 30 after 31 years as a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and he will start his new job in Alaska on Dec. 12. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Oklahoma, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix.
1 is 2 Many suicide prevention task force meets: The SEARHC-sponsored “1 is 2 Many” regional suicide prevention task force met on Dec. 1-2 in Juneau. During the meeting, SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown gave an overview on our two grants. The Garrett Lee Smith Grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) works with youth suicide prevention efforts throughout the region such as our Youth Ambassadors program. The Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services funds efforts to reduce the use of alcohol among youth (ages 12-20) and reduce heavy and adult binge drinking (ages 21-40). Sheryl McAllister gave a presentation on a postvention packet supplement that has been created for survivors of suicide. Michael Jenkins of SEARHC Corporate Communications discussed a media campaign that includes several radio PSAs, digital storytelling and posters promoting the SEARHC Help Line (1-877-294-0074). The task force will next meet by teleconference on Jan. 26.
Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum: SEARHC staff attended the 23rd Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care this week in Orlando, Fla. This is an annual event sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). This conference is the premier “meeting place” for people committed to the mission of providing safe, effective patient care at a reasonable cost, according to the IHI website, http://www.ihi.org/offerings/Conferences/Forum2011/Pages/default.aspx. This annual event draws nearly 6,000 health care leaders from around the world to Orlando and thousands more via satellite broadcast. This four-day event features a variety of keynote speakers and breakout sessions, and we’ve been able to apply lessons learned from previous trips to the National Forum to the way we provide quality health care here at SEARHC.
Kake hosts Survivors of Suicide Day event and food drive: Scotty Jackson of the SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program in Kake helped host a National Survivors of Suicide Day event with a candlelight luncheon and ceremony in partnership with the Kake Veterans Auxiliary Committee on Nov. 19. The event featured community members that met at the Salvation Army Post and lit candles in memory of loved ones they have lost or survivors of suicide they know. That same day, Scotty joined AmeriCorps volunteer Bess Skeek and the Kake Junior High School basketball teams for a Thanksgiving food drive. The boys and girls teams collected four boxes of food, which were distributed to Kake families on Nov. 20.
Just a reminder …
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 for patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate through SEARHC’s health system. SEARHC and the Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) share an Anchorage-based patient advocate, Pamela Goodwin, who serves SEARHC and KANA patients receiving care at the Alaska Native Medical Center. 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 Pamela Goodwin at 729-3992 (942-5867, cell).
24/7 on-call travel coordinators: Are you a SEARHC patient who needs after-hours help while traveling for a medical appointment? SEARHC 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.
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 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/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown at 966-8753.