President’s Update for May 22, 2010

In this edition...

Annual negotiations with DHHS. This week, the 25 co-signers of the Alaska Tribal Health Compact (ATHC) held negotiations with representatives of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). For all practical purposes, the DHHS representatives predominately are members of the Alaska Area Office, with some representatives from Rockville, Md. The ATHC represents all tribal health services in Alaska. There are two parts to the negotiations. First, we negotiate the all-Alaska compact as a larger health caucus. In addition to the compact, individual co-signers, such as SEARHC, negotiate their own funding agreements. While we completed the individual portion of SEARHC’s funding agreement, the negotiations are held open pending a resolution by the Indian Health Service (IHS) of implementation concerns for the newly reauthorized Indian Health Care Improvement Act. This is a unified position of the entire ATHC. I look forward to updating the Board in June. Change of leadership at Alaska Native Medical Center: After nearly 1 1/2 years as administrator of the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC), Dan Neumeister has completed his contract and is moving on to pursue other endeavors. William Casey will serve as interim administrator starting on Monday, May 24. During Neumeister’s time at ANMC, the hospital achieved accreditation by The Joint Commission and it was redesignated as a Magnet Nursing Hospital and recertified as a Level 2 Trauma Center. He also stabilized ANMC’s finances and worked hard to improve relations with the regional tribal health organizations. Casey has nearly 30 years of experience in health care, including time as president of Provena Hospitals (nine of them) in Illinois and as CEO at Mercy Hospital in Champaign, Ill. He also co-founded a charity, ProPapa Missions America, which provides health care, housing and educational opportunities in Honduras. Alaska eHealth Network moves forward with selection of statewide health information exchange system: The Alaska eHealth Network will be leading the effort to select and implement a new standards-based, statute-compliant statewide health information exchange (HIE). Alaska Tribal Health System members and other health organizations from around the state will be participating in the process. According to Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Director of Data Management and Analytics Richard Hall, the Alaska eHealth Network has signed a contract with the State of Alaska to select an HIE vendor, with assistance from Peer Consulting. The selection process has a five-month timeline. We should narrow the field down to five (or fewer) vendor finalists by August, with demonstrations and final selection set for September. Every health care organization in Alaska will be participating, not just Alaska Tribal Health System members, and you can track progress at http://www.ak-ehealth.com/. SEARHC Domestic Violence Task Force hosts speaker on reproductive health and violence: The SEARHC Domestic Violence Task Force hosted Dr. Linda Chamberlain, PhD, MPH, for a discussion about reproductive health and violence on May 17 at the hospital. Reproductive health and violence is an emerging topic within the field of intimate partner violence, and it is an issue that has major implications for family planning, perinatal programs, STI/HIV (sexually transmitted infections/human immunodeficiency virus) programs and other reproductive health services. Dr. Chamberlain presented the latest research on different forms and patterns of reproductive coercion and its impact on women’s and teens’ reproductive health and sexual risk behaviors. She also discussed new strategies to integrate assessment and harms reduction counseling into specific types of reproductive health visits, scripted assessment tools and promising practices. SEARHC Behavioral Health Division hosts community healing circle in Sitka: Residents of Sitka were able to participate in a community healing circle on Saturday, May 22, at the SEARHC At Kaník Hít Community Health Services Building. This event featured a potluck dinner followed by the healing circle. This is another of the division’s semi-regular community healing circles. Talking circles have been used by many Native American cultures for thousands of years, and they give people a chance to share their feelings, thoughts and beliefs. For more information, contact Harry Bradley at 966-8655 or Melody Price-Yonts at 966-8776. WISEWOMAN to host motivational interviewing workshop: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program will host a pair of four-hour workshops on “Brief Action Planning: An Adaptation of Motivational Interviewing.” The workshops take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, at the SEARHC At Kanik Hit Community Health Services Building first-floor conference room in Sitka (available by video-conference to other SEARHC communities), and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 28, at the SEARHC Administration Building conference room in Juneau. Leading the workshops will be Dr. Steven Cole, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Stony Book University Medical Center in Stony Brook, N.Y., who will discuss how this method of motivational interviewing helps the patient set meaningful, health-related goals in a short time frame. CME (continuing medical education) credits are being pursued. For more information or to register for the workshops, contact Martha Pearson at 966-8783. To learn more about motivational interviewing, go to http://www.ComprehensiveMI.com/. SEARHC to offer free health screenings in Craig, Hydaburg: The SEARHC Health Promotion department will provide free health screenings at times TBA on Thursday, May 27, at the SEARHC Hydaburg Health Center and from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 28, at the Craig Community Association Office, 1330 Craig/Klawock Highway. Participants are encouraged to make 20-minute appointments for the screenings, but walk-ins will be seen when time is available. The biometric health screenings involve a simple blood test that gives people their non-fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and blood pressure results. Health professionals will be available to discuss the results with patients. While these screenings do not replace a person’s annual visit to their medical provider, they can let people know if they are at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or stroke. For more information, contact SEARHC Community Wellness Advocates Rueben Chinana at 285-3462 in Hydaburg or June May at 755-4959 in Klawock. Prince of Wales Island Marathon takes place on Saturday, May 29: The 11th annual Prince of Wales Island takes place starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 29, near the Hollis Ferry Terminal. The 26.2-mile course winds through forests, mountain passes, along Klawock Lake, over rivers and streams, and along the shore before reaching the finish line in Craig. The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program has registered teams of employees and patients from Klawock and Hydaburg for the marathon. The Prince of Wales Youth First Responders, who are sponsored by the SEARHC Emergency Medical Services program and the 4-H program of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, will provide first aid services and the Alicia Roberts Medical Center will help staff one of the 15 aid stations along the course. To learn more about signing up for teams, contact Mary Dinon with the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in Klawock at 755-4946, contact marathon organizer Victoria Merritt at 826-2690 or craigrec@aptalaska.net, or go to http://www.powmarathon.org/. SEARHC, Bartlett Regional Hospital mobile mammograms in full swing: The mobile mammogram van program is in full swing. The Spring 2010 mobile mammogram season kicked off with a May 4-18 visit to Haines. The mobile mammogram van also will visit Kake on May 24-27, Skagway on June 1-4, Yakutat on June 9-16 and Angoon on June 21-23. During the Summer/Fall 2010 season the van will visit Hoonah on Aug. 23-27, Haines on Aug. 30-Sept. 13, Skagway on Sept. 14-17, Klawock on Sept. 22-Oct. 8, Craig on Oct. 11-12 and Metlakatla on Oct. 14-22. This list gives women the dates the mobile mammogram van will be in town, and specific appointment times will be available from the local clinic. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. Between the spring and summer/fall seasons, the van provides about 800-900 women in nine communities with regular mammography screening services in places where the services aren’t available year round. For more information, contact your local clinic or call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program at 966-8782 in Sitka or 1-888-388-8782 (toll-free in Alaska), send an e-mail to askwh@searhc.org, or go online at http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/. Pressure canner checks to take place in June in Hydaburg and Craig/Klawock: Has the pressure gauge on your canner been checked lately? The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service recommends gauges be checked for accuracy every year. The SEARHC Health Promotion department will test pressure canner gauges from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, June 17, in Hydaburg, and during the annual “Putting Up The Grub” event on Saturday, June 19, at a location TBA in Craig or Klawock. For more information, contact SEARHC Community Wellness Advocate June May at 755-4959. 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 is 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 Prevention Program Director Wilbur Brown at 966-8753. Regards, Roald