President’s Update for January 10, 2014

In this edition...

MEH Welcomes Sitka’s First Baby of 2014

Dylan Blackhurst was the first baby of 2014 born at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka. His Mom, Amber works in the SEARHC Outpatient Department and Dad, Carl works for Mt. Edgecumbe High School.

Dylan was born at 4:12 a.m. on Tuesday, January 7, 2014, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and measuring 20.75 inches long. Dr. Donna Smith delivered Dylan, with the assistance of Lynn Northrup, R.N. and Tracy West, R.N.

Please join me in congratulating Amber and Carl and welcoming Dylan into the SEARHC extended family.


Start 2014 off on the right foot… literally.

You’re invited to participate in “Walk for the Health of it,” a planned walking event that lasts for six weeks and runs from January 11th through February 24th. All you have to do is set your own goal, join other walkers at Dimond Field Park House (2961 Riverside Drive) every Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 PM, and turn in your weekly log. Your log not only tracks your progress, but is combined with all of the others from that week for a weekly prize drawing.

Visit the "Walk for the Health of it!" web page for information and to sign up. For other information contact Tiffany Nelson at 364-4459.

Walk event logo


Robert Meadows, RN CDE: Certified Diabetes Educator

Robert Meadows has been employed at Ethel Lund Medical Center for 7 years.  He started as a clinical nurse, and advanced to our triage nurse.  In January, 2010 Robert branched out again and took the role of Diabetes Case Manager.  He has been working with our diabetic population providing diabetes education, diabetic foot care and working alongside the medical staff in promoting self care. 

In December, Robert passed the Certified Diabetes Educator® Exam. A Certified Diabetes Educator® is a health professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in diabetes management, prediabetes, and diabetes prevention. They educate and support people affected by diabetes to understand and manage their diabetes. In addition to Robert Meadows, SEARHC has a total of 3 Diabetes Educators®: This professional team includes: Lisa Schwartz in Haines and Julie Sturtevant at Alicia Robert Medical Center in Klawock.

Please join me in congratulating Robert. We are all pleased with his accomplishment and wish him well as he continues his nursing career.


Graduating Class of WELL Balanced Trainers

This week, the Health Promotion Division proudly announced the successful graduation of Moriah Mathson, Phyllis Moore, and Cory Welsh as trainers of the WELL Balanced (Wise Elders Living Longer) program on January 8, 2014. The training was brought back from the University of North Dakota, who in partnership with the Native American Resource Center on Native American Aging, created an exercise program to help reduce falls with the elderly population and to help them manage their chronic diseases. The exercises are all best practices used by physical therapists and adapted to be taught by volunteer instructors. The ladies participated in an intensive, three day, training which introduced SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goal setting, management of chronic disease, fall prevention, home safety, and how to lead elders to improve their balance, endurance, flexibility and strength.

The Injury Prevention Program’s Elder Physical Activity program will begin recruiting for a WELL Balanced class to begin on January 27, from 2 – 2:30 pm, at the Hames’ PE Center. The class will be held every Monday and Wednesday for eight weeks. Elders are invited to call Cory Welsh, Health Educator I, at 966.8866 to register for the class.

Please join me in congratulating Moriah, Phyllis and Cory.


New Chief Nursing Officer

Brad Langdorf has accepted the offer to be our new Chief Nursing Officer, his official first day will be January 13, 2014.  As Chief Nursing Officer, Brad will be working closely with Noel Rea, Dr Bruhl and the Nursing Managers at Mt Edgecumbe Hospital.

Brad holds a Bachelor Degree in Nursing and is currently working on his Master’s in Health Care Administration.  He is skilled in wearing multiple hats, being hands-on, and mentoring staff and managers in small to mid-sized organizations.  He has over twenty five years of healthcare experience in not-for-profit and for profit hospitals and has progressed in his career from an emergency room nurse to a director, to the CNO position.

Brad and his Fiancé Paula Myers are looking forward to living and working in Sitka. Please join me in welcoming Brad to our SEARHC Family!


New Performance Improvement Director

Vincent Tran has accepted the offer to be our new Performance Improvement Director; he will be based in Juneau and will begin working on February 17, 2014

Vincent is a successful Performance Improvement Leader with a broad background spanning health, energy and manufacturing.   His proven ability to build, develop and lead new programs, his passion for training and leading his team on a path to excellence, along with his use of metrics and data to drive performance improvement measures makes him an excellent fit for SEARHC. 

Vincent and his wife Victoria have been living in Portland Oregon for several years and are looking forward to making Juneau their new home.

Please join me in welcoming Vincent to our SEARHC Family!


After Hours Nurse Triage Line

I would like to introduce our new After Hours Nurse Triage Line. It will be an invaluable resource for patients to obtain healthcare advice and information when their local clinic is not open. This service is available exclusively to beneficiaries of SEARHC in outlying areas; making reliable health information provided by Registered Nurses just a phone call away.

It is not unusual for a health question to arise that one may not know how to handle and often outside of clinic hours. Does the issue require a visit to the emergency facility, a call to the doctor, or is it something one might try handling without a provider’s advice? Additionally, a free, downloadable smartphone application puts this service directly at patients’ fingertips. The “app” includes an extensive library of symptoms from which patients may choose, and will intuitively guide users to appropriate options for treatment or indicate whether additional treatment is needed. Most importantly, access to these professionals provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing this resource is available.

Living in one of Southeast Alaska’s outlying areas presents a unique set of challenges. Creating availability to the After Hours Nurse Triage Line eliminates at least one of those challenges. It may be accessed easily by calling a toll-free number, (800) 613-0560, and will be rolled out first to Kake, Angoon, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Thorne Bay, Craig, and Klawock by the end of January, and then Haines, Klukwan, and Pelican in early March.

In SEARHC’s continuing effort to provide patients with access to quality health resources, adding an after-hours option was the logical next step. Keep in mind, however, that this service is not a substitute for one’s relationship with a regular provider, but an excellent supplement to that relationship.

For more information you are encouraged to visit www.searhc.org/nurse-line or call your local SEARHC clinic.


Personal Service Dining for MEH patients

Last month SEARCH presented its patients with the new Expressly For You-Personal Service Dining℠ (EFY). NMS Food Services collaborated closely with all SEARHC support departments, especially nursing staff and IT to develop a new menu, implementation of new software and personalized Host/Hostess training all to prepare for the execution of this patient-centered program.

The Expressly For You-Personal Service Dining℠ program is an innovative concept of meal order and delivery for hospital patients employing the basic restaurant concepts of fresh food and personal service. The focus on the menu is fresh, homemade and cooking from scratch.  With the introduction of the new Merry Chef oven, the dining services culinary staff now has the capability to prepare patient choices individually versus traditional trayline service.

The building block of this program is centered on patient satisfaction.  This is accomplished through personalized and frequent interaction during meal ordering and delivery by the same host/hostess through-out the day.  This provides the personal touch resulting in increased patient satisfaction which has a direct effect in the healing process.

We look forward to the continued success of this program and providing our SEARHC patients with the best culinary experience in Sitka.  A lofty goal, but one this team has embraced with enthusiasm.

Charles Clement

Just a reminder...


Patient Satisfaction Surveys

In order to ensure that we provide the best patient care and services possible, SEARHC has partnered with health care industry consultants, Press Ganey Associates, to gather patient satisfaction information through email surveys for all SEARHC outpatients.

All outpatients seen at MEH, ELMC, or a CHS clinic who have provided SEARHC with an email address will receive an email survey to rate the services received during a visit that took place approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior.

These confidential surveys cover topics such as wait time, access to our facilities, moving through a visit, interactions with nurses or assistants, assessment of provider’s service and efforts, as well as an overall assessment that outlines a few areas covered in the survey. Patients will also have the opportunity to provide comments as well.


Call ELMC for appointments on weekends

We have moved from a weekend Walk-In Clinic model at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau to scheduling specific appointment times for patients on Saturday and Sunday.

It is our goal to provide access for patients without causing them the inconvenience of waiting to be seen on a first come, first served basis. This will make the process much smoother and provide the convenience of knowing one’s appointment time in advance, thus decreasing the long wait to be seen by a provider.


Expanded ELMC Clinic Hours

Our clinic and pharmacy hours at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau have permanently been extended. The clinic and the Pharmacy are now open from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Friday. The weekday hours were previously 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.