President’s Update for July 13, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

Debra Graceland hired as Juneau patient advocate: Debra Graceland has been hired as the new Juneau-based patient advocate for SEARHC, and she will serve as a customer service liaison for patients from Juneau, Haines, Klukwan, Skagway and Hoonah. Debra has been a referral care coordinator at the Ethel Lund Medical Center for the past four years, so she already knows many of the patients she’ll serve. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree (BAS) in psychology, sociology and fine arts from the University of Washington. Debra has been in Sitka this week training with Sitka-based patient advocate Bryan Whitson and Performance Improvement Director Rhonda Bowen, and she will start her new position on Monday, July 16, at the Ethel Lund Medical Center. Cyndi Reeves, our Klawock-based patient advocate, has been taking care of the Juneau/Haines/Klukwan/Skagway/Hoonah patients during the hiring process. Debra’s office at the Ethel Lund Medical Center is on the upper floor near the pharmacy. She can be reached at 463-6656, or by e-mail at debra.graceland@searhc.org.

Back to top

Fall mobile mammogram van schedule announced: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program and Bartlett Regional Hospital have announced the Fall 2012 schedule for the mobile mammogram program. The mobile mammography van will visit Hoonah on Aug. 20-24, Haines on Aug. 27-Sept. 10, Skagway on Sept. 11-14, Klawock on Sept. 19-28 and Oct. 3-9, Craig on Oct. 1-2, and Metlakatla on Oct. 11-19 (no weekend or holiday appointments). Women are encouraged to contact their local clinics prior to the scheduled visit because they will need to receive a clinical breast exam before they can get their mammograms. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. It makes regular mammography screening services available to women who live in communities where they aren’t available year round. The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program provides free clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests and cardiovascular screenings for all women ages 40 and older who meet income and insurance guidelines. For more information, contact your local clinic, call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in Sitka at 966-8782 (or 1-888-388-8782, toll-free in Alaska), or send e-mail to askwh@searhc.org. For more information about services available through the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program, go to http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/.

Back to top

Haines Health Center laboratory passes COLA inspection: On June 25, the Haines Medical Center was inspected by COLA (formerly the Commission On Laboratory Accreditation), a physician-directed clinical laboratory education, consultation and accreditation organization. The results were excellent with the inspector finding no citations and giving the lab a perfect score. This is the lab’s second perfect inspection out of the last three inspection cycles. This is due to the fantastic job that is done by the lab and nursing staff at Haines. A special thanks goes out to Jody Miller, the clinic nurse manager. Last year the clinic lab had a position vacant for nearly six months, during which she made sure that the day-to-day operations of the lab continued. Our accreditation has been renewed through 2014. Great job to everyone in Haines.

Back to top

Sitka announces summer-quarter winners in Kutx Ayanahá employee recognition program: On Thursday, July 12, we honored the summer-quarter winners in the Kutx Ayanahá employee recognition program (Kutx Ayanahá means “star” in Tlingít). We honored the Terrific Trio — Lynn Gras, Allan Bradley and Gio Villanueva — with a traveling trophy for three months, a paid day off work and a $100 gift certificate to a Sitka business of their choice. In addition to the Terrific Trio, the other Staff of the Season were the SEARHC Daycare Center staff (Becky Workman, Tammy Mears, Wendy Goss, Greta Anderson and Sapphire Larsen), Tina Anderson, Renae Mathson, Sandra Bergey, George Bennett Jr. and Clara Gray. The employees nominate each other for this award, with the next batch of awards scheduled to be presented in October. At the end of the year, one employee will be entered into the Hall of Fame and will have his or her picture hanging in the hospital. We hope to expand this program consortium-wide in the near future.

Back to top

Alaska’s public health centers start charging for children’s care: According to KCAW-Raven Radio in Sitka, on July 1 Alaska’s state-run public health centers began using a sliding fee scale based on family income to charge for children’s health care service, such as immunizations and well-child exams. The state’s public health centers have charged for adult care for several years, but charging for children’s care is new this month. The move was made by the Alaska Division of Public Health to make the centers more sustainable, especially since the centers already are feeling pressure due to cuts to the federal vaccination program. Division of Public Health representatives also told KCAW they want patients to develop relationships with local primary care providers, such as SEARHC. Our SEARHC clinics can provide most of the same services, and more, as the public health centers. SEARHC can accept private insurance, Denali KidCare/Medicaid and other third-party payers for our patients who qualify (Native patients are covered through the Indian Health Service). With school just around the corner, now is the time to call and schedule a well-child exam or school physical for your child, so you beat the August rush.

Back to top

Just a reminder …

SEARHC patient advocates serve as customer liaisons: 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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

SEARHC provides 24/7 on-call travel coordinators for patients traveling for care: 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).

Back to top

Charles Clement SEARHC President/CEO