President’s Update for July 25, 2014

In this edition...

Settlement with Indian Health Service

I am pleased to announce that SEARHC has reached an agreement with the U.S. Indian Health Service (IHS) to settle SEARHC’s outstanding claims against the IHS for unpaid contract support costs (CSC). Under the agreement, the IHS has agreed to pay SEARHC $39.5 million plus interest, totaling approximately $53 million, to settle the organization’s CSC claims for the years 1999 through 2013. This settlement resolves SEARHC’s claims for 15 years of CSC underpayments by the IHS. This is a very good settlement and has concluded several years of legal wrangling and political advocacy in Washington, DC. I could not be more pleased to have these issues come to resolution and look forward to focusing our efforts in a more constructive direction.


Health Includes Mental Health

Did you know that people with depression often have worse physical health, as well as worse self-perceived health, than those without depression? Depressive illness has also been linked to coronary heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and possibly type 2 diabetes. When you’re depressed, it can feel like you’ll never get out from under a dark shadow. However, even the most severe depression is treatable. Treatment options range from lifestyle advice on sleep and physical activity to talk therapy using cognitive-behavioral therapy. It based on the theory that much of how we feel is determined by what we think. Medication may also help some of the symptoms of moderate and severe depression.  There are clinicians in Juneau, Sitka, POW and Haines who can help you look at your thinking and identify your beliefs. For those that aren’t comfortable seeing a clinician in person, we have clinicians ready to see people by video chat using Polycom. Please call your local clinic to make an appointment with one of our Behavioral Health clinicians, or if you’d rather see a clinician using video chat, call 966-8929 to meet with our clinician in Sitka who devotes her time to seeing whoever, where ever they are via Polycom.


Help with Health Insurance at the Fair

SEARHC is hosting a booth at the SE Alaska Fair from July 31st – August 2nd to assist people with questions about the Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Marketplace. Some people now have insurance for the first time and are not clear about how to use it or find the paperwork confusing. Additionally there are those that have not signed up and are wondering if they are still able to do so. SEARHC staff members will be on hand to help explain it all. Information will also be available regarding filing exemptions, and tax fines for not having health insurance coverage. For more information you may call or email SEARHC Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator, Andrea Thomas at (907) 966-8883.

Charles Clement

Just a reminder...


Healthcare App from SEARHC

SEARHC has a web-based Nurse Triage Smartphone application (or app) for your Smartphone called “Healthcare on the Hip.” It contains an extensive library which can help you assess health concerns whenever & wherever your mobile device can get service. It is a convenient tool to help you decide whether you should contact your provider or can treat something at home. To download the web-based Smartphone app, you can visit the Nurse Triage Line page to learn how.


Summer Mobile Mammogram Schedule

The mobile mammography van will visit Hydaburg on 8/1, Klawock from 8/2-8/8, Hoonah from 8/12-8/15, Skagway on 8/18, and Haines on 8/20-8/25. For more information contact your local clinic, the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in Sitka at 966-8782 (1-888-388-8782, toll-free in Alaska), or e-mail the WISEWOMAN Health Program.


Sitka Senior Walking Group

The Injury Prevention Falls Prevention Program kicked off the “Sitka Senior Walking Group” at the Sitka Memorial National Park in June, and there will be weekly walks for the rest of the summer. Walkers of all ages and activity levels are welcome to meet outside the National Park Visitor’s center on Tuesdays at 10:15AM. For more information contact SEARHC’s Injury Prevention program at (907) 966-8866


Free Health Insurance for Alaska Natives/American Indians

Alaska Natives and American Indians may be eligible for free additional health insurance coverage through a trial program known as Tribally Sponsored Health Insurance Program (T-SHIP). Anyone interested in being screened for health insurance coverage should call Andrea Thomas at (907) 966-8883 or email email Andrea.