We’re happy to announce that as of January 21, Sitka Medical Center (SMC) is now a wholly owned subsidiary of SEARHC. Sitka Medical Center will offer the same quality services and continue to be an access point for heath care to everyone. Most importantly, there will be no immediate changes in the way SMC operates or to its staff. SEARHC’s role will be to offer administrative guidance and support as needed or requested. Please welcome Sitka Medical Center to the SEARHC family. For the full story, as reported by Robert Wolsey of KCAW in Sitka, click on the link: http://www.kcaw.org/2013/01/22/sitka-medical-center-sold-to-searhc/
The EHR implementation team is working hard to meet the March 4 go-live date at Alicia Roberts Medical Center. Subgroups are working out details for lab, radiology, scanning, referrals, women's health, behavioral health, diabetes and other departments. EHR training for ARMC staff will be held in Klawock February 4-8, followed by another onsite training February 25 - March 1 just prior to the EHR go-live the following week. We are very fortunate to have IHS EHR Implementation Team Leads David Taylor and Phil Taylor at ARMC for two full weeks of configuration, training and go-live February 25 through March 8. They are extremely knowledgeable about the system, having implemented the RPMS EHR at over 300 sites nationwide. To date SEARHC has received almost $1.5M from the Meaningful Use Incentive Program, distributed to organizations who "Adopt, Implement, or Upgrade" certified Electronic Health Record technology. SEARHC will be eligible for more Meaningful Use incentive payments after we go live with the EHR. SEARHC has also been reimbursed over $70,000 in EHR expenses by a companion program, the Regional Extension Center (REC). This REC funding has helped defray the cost of training, consulting and site visits related to implementing the EHR and achieving Meaningful Use. For more information or questions about the project, please contact Project Manager Peter Apathy at (907) 966-8577 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An event co-sponsored by SEARHC, T&H Central Council, T&H Regional Housing Authority, Sealaska, and Goldbelt – it is designed to support Alaska Native people and employees of these Native organizations to walk more to improve their health. 80 registered walkers turned in a total of 15,216 minutes during their first week of walking. This translates to an awesome 253 hours and 36 minutes walked! Think of the health they are banking! 39 walkers attended this past Tuesday – January 22 - group walk. Jodie Garrison, one of the Tuesday walkers, was the weekly prize winner of a brand new pair of Nike N7 shoes. The event continues for three more weeks of walking with sponsored Tuesday night walks from 5:30-7:30 (January 29 and February 5 and 12) at the Dimond Field House. Nike N7 shoes are the main weekly door prize for those attending the Tuesday group walks. The event concludes on Saturday February 16th with a Grand Finale Event at the Dimond Field House that starts at 10am-12noon with awards and the Grand Prize drawing for 25,000 Alaska Air-miles for those that completed all four weeks and turned in their minutes walked. While it is too late to get in on the Grand Prize drawing, it is not too late to register and join us for the Tuesday night Dimond Field House walks. Contact Edy Rodewald at 907-364-4452 for more information. And don’t forget that as a SEARHC employee you may use the Field House Track anytime they are open, gaining free access with your name badge.
SEARHC has a new website and it’s been created to increase (with ease) the way you access information about SERHC, its locations, services, providers and more. The way you search and apply for a job at SEARHC has also gotten a lot simpler, which will help to quicken the response time from SEARHC to the applicants. The site will continue to take shape in the months to come with the addition of publications like HealthBeat that will be written in the form of a blog. Links to outside sources like the CDC, other Tribal healthcare networks and health education websites will be added as the site grows. Please check it out at http://www.searhc.org.
If you haven't already done so, please check out SEARHC's new page on Facebook. This page will provide people with updates about what's happening around the consortium. This page is new, so it will be adding more content over time. If you're on Facebook, please like our page so you can keep up on the news at SEARHC.
Medicare open enrollment is now through Dec. 7: Just a reminder for our patients who are enrolled in Medicare health coverage for seniors, the open enrollment period for the 2013 plan year is open from now until Dec. 7. This is the time when you can sign up for new plans, or change your existing ones. The Medicare website has lots of tools to help seniors look at the costs, levels of coverage, convenience and quality of care they can expect in the different plans so they can make the best selection. Even if you don’t plan to make any changes from your existing coverage plan, it’s always a good idea to review your options to see if there’s one better suited to what you need. The Medicare Plan Finder can help you check the health and drug plan options available in your area. If you still need help comparing plans, you can call the Medicare help line at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). SEARHC employees Judy Mills-Brown (966-8307 or toll-free at 1-888-966-8307) and Nellie Kookesh (966-8814) also can help patients with Medicare questions.
SEARHC has three patient advocate positions in Southeast Alaska – Bryan Whitson (Sitka), Cyndi Reeves (POW), and Debra Graceland (Juneau) – who serve as customer service liaisons between patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate their way through SEARHC's health system. In addition, the Alaska Native Medical Center provides Anchorage-based patient advocates who serve patients from around the state 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 Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Thorne Bay and other POW communities should contact Cyndi Reeves at 755-4983 (965-0040, cell). Patients in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Hoonah should contact Debra Graceland (463-6656). Patients traveling to Anchorage for care should contact the ANMC patient advocates at 729-3990.
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.
SEARHC has a 24/7 on-call travel coordinator to assist patients needing after-hours help while traveling for a medical appointment. The on-call staff person helps patients find new connections when a plane is diverted by weather, or assists with late-night housing. For assistance, call 1-800-916-8566 (toll-free in Alaska) or 1-907-966-8345 in Sitka, and then follow the prompts. To help us better help you, please call as soon as you know your travel schedule has been changed. For patients needing assistance from the Community Resources Program (contract health), such as emergency health care while traveling, call 1-866-966-8316 (toll-free).