President’s Update for June 15, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

SEARHC Community Transformation Grant lists sub-award winners: The SEARHC Community Transformation Grant program will make eight sub-award grants worth $134,000 to community groups in Southeast Alaska interested in improving the health of their communities. A total of 32 applications from various community groups around the region were submitted by the June 1 deadline. Last week, a six-member review board comprised of SEARHC, Alaska Department of Health and Human Services and rural community representatives completed the difficult task of reviewing and scoring the applications. According to the funding objectives, projects should be policy-driven and have a well-planned strategy to address at least one of the three focus issues — tobacco-free living; active living and healthy eating; and high-impact quality clinical and other preventive services to prevent and control high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Sub-award grants ranging from $5,000 to $24,750 were available. The applications that showed definite links to sustainable policies, such as school curricula and institutional meal guidelines, were scored the highest. The SEARHC Community Transformation Grant sub-award winners for Fiscal Year 2012 are:

  • Alaska Breastfeeding Coalition will advocate for worksite breastfeeding policy in Juneau.
  • Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) will integrate a new physical activity curriculum for Head Start programs across the region.
  • Haines Community Garden will develop ways to supply senior center meal programs with fresh vegetables from the garden.
  • SEARHC WISEFAMILIES Through Customary and Traditional Knowledge Program will develop food safety policies for the Kake Culture Camp and the general community of Kake.
  • SEARHC Community Nutrition will address policy barriers to elders accessing local and traditional foods in Haines, Klukwan and Prince of Wales Island communities.
  • Southeast Island School District will develop its school nutrition curricula around fruits and vegetables while strengthening a sustainable fruit tree initiative in Coffman Cove.
  • Sitka Conservation Society will strengthen its existing “Fish to Schools” program and “Stream to Plate” curriculum in Sitka, while working on expanding the programs to other schools in the region.
  • XKKF (Xaadas Kil_Kuyaas Foundation) will develop wellness policies in Hydaburg through culture camp guidelines and a traditional canoe curriculum.

A second round of applications for Fiscal Year 2013 will be solicited in the early fall. If funding allows, SEARHC expects to offer the chance to apply for sub-awards every year until 2016. For more information, contact Martha Pearson at 966-8783 or martha.pearson@searhc.org.

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S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital fixes floor trim and paints door frames: S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital has undergone many projects in the last number of years, including the renovation of entire wings, building roofs, siding, windows, floor coverings and replacement of many pieces of equipment. The latest project has been replacement of cove base molding (floor trim) and a very thorough cleaning of the vinyl floors as well as painting of door frames and surrounding walls (the painting will be ongoing for awhile longer). Environmental Services and Facility Maintenance/Project crews have been working hard to complete this project in a timely manner. This project will have a positive impact on the well being of patients and staff. The floors are clean and they look great. Thank you for your patience with our staff as they work to complete this project in a timely manner.

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SEARHC garage sales a success: We were scheduled to hold SEARHC garage sales Friday and Saturday in Juneau and Sitka to sell surplus equipment this weekend. Our sale in Sitka was so successful, we sold out of everything and decided not to open up on Saturday. There still was lots of furniture and other items left in Juneau after Friday, so it was open on Saturday. The Juneau sale is at the back, lower-level Ethel Lund Medical Center parking lot, underneath the overhang.

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SEARHC encourages parents to schedule well-child exams/school physicals early: Parents who need to schedule well-child exams and/or school physicals for their children this summer are encouraged to call their local clinic early to avoid the August rush. We usually experience a frenzy of phone calls in August as parents try to make appointments for their kids, and by then most of the appointment slots are already full. This year we especially encourage our Sitka parents to schedule early, since two of our pediatricians have leave time scheduled in August. Right now there are dozens of available openings for Dr. David Vastola and Dr. Jennifer McNichol in Sitka, who will be gone part of August. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children have well-child exams annually from age 2-21 (well-child exams also are recommended for the first, second, fourth, sixth, ninth, 12th, 15th and 18th months for children younger than 2 years old). A well-child exam is more than a school physical, and it incorporates physical, dental, vision and developmental exams to give a clearer picture of how the child is doing. This way parents and the child’s provider can address minor health issues before they become major problems. Well-child exams also include all recommended immunizations, so your child is able to prevent many childhood diseases. Most insurance plans, including Denali KidCare, cover well-child exams. To learn more, please call your local SEARHC clinic.

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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 our Juneau position is temporarily vacant — 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). Since our Juneau position is vacant, patients in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Hoonah should contact Cyndi until we can hire a new Juneau patient advocate (use Cyndi’s numbers above or the Juneau patient advocate’s number of 463-6656, which will be routed to Cyndi). Patients traveling to Anchorage for care should contact the ANMC patient advocates at 729-3990.

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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.

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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).

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Charles Clement SEARHC President/CEO