President’s Update for November 29, 2013

In this edition...

SEARHC Awarded Accreditation from Joint Commission

I am pleased to report that SEARHC has once again earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in ambulatory care organizations. The accreditation award recognizes SEARHC’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards.

SEARHC underwent a rigorous unannounced on-site survey in September. A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management at Sitka, Juneau, Haines, and Klawock.

This accreditation validates the great work we’re doing and that our providers and entire staff are meeting the highest standard of excellence within the healthcare community, not only at Mt. Edgcumbe Hospital and Ethel Lund Medical Center, but at all of our clinics, including Behavioral Health. As we continue to pursue excellence in our patient care, the guidance that the Joint Commission surveyors provided has been and will continue to be extremely helpful in this journey.

The Joint Commission’s hospital standards address important functions relating to the care of patients and the management of hospitals. The standards are developed in consultation with health care experts, providers, measurement experts and patients.

I want to congratulate our entire staff on helping to make this happen.

Managers Retreat

Fifty three SEARHC managers from across the region gathered at the University of Alaska Southeast - Sitka Campus on November 19th and 20th for a retreat led by trainers from an Atlanta based company called Achieveit.  Day one of the retreat focused on discussing values.  The manager's group decided that Communication, Quality, Accountability and Leadership were at the top of the list. 

In addition to an educational portion, like-focused teams of 3 - 13 people made plans and goals for 2014. That work is still in process and will culminate when it is entered into Achieveit's cloud based software that has been designed to track progress and help with execution.

"A lot of the feedback we got was it was great to see people face to face," said retreat co-organizer Doug Osborne from Human Resources, "Breaking down silos and collaborating more effectively with our co-workers at SEARHC is a very important focus right now. I think the retreat helped with that and 2014 really is shaping up to be 28% better."

Haines Medical Center joins National Improving Patient Care Team

SEARHC – Haines Medical Center has been selected to participate in the Improving Patient Care (IPC) 5 Collaborative.  For 15 months, beginning in January, the team in Haines will be joining other  IHS, Tribal, and Urban programs from across the country to further develop innovative strategies to raise the health status and promote wellness for all American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) individuals, families and communities.  Those involved in this program are making changes in the way health care is delivered by incorporating patient-centered, Indian health, medical home concepts – a system of care where patients get the care they want when they need it by their own care teams.  

Please join me in congratulating and supporting the team at Haines Medical Center as they work hard to gain additional tools and knowledge to improve patient care now and for the future.

Flu and Fluoride Clinic

The SEARHC Mount Edgecumbe High School Student Health Center and SEARHC Dental Team put on their annual Flu Vaccine and Fluoride Varnish Clinic on Saturday morning, Nov. 23rd. 150 students received fluoride varnishes and 275 students were vaccinated, which is 70% of the entire student population. Special thanks to the SEARHC Pharmacy Staff and all of the nurses who volunteered to help, including the UAS Nursing Program students!

Biometric Screenings in Haines

In recognition of Diabetes Month, Renae Mathson (Diabetes grant) and Cory Welsh (Senior Fall Prevention grant) recently partnered with the Haines Clinic to provide biometric screening to Haines residents. Forty individuals participated, and thirty-one chose fasting screenings. A portable, CLIA-waived, Cholestech LDX® machine was used to give participants their fasting or random (non-fasting) results from a fingerstick within 5 minutes. Fasting screenings provide information on glucose and cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, triglycerides and total/HDL ratio) levels. Random (non-fasting) screenings give the participant their glucose and cholesterol (total, HDL and total/HDL ratio) levels. Each participant also had their blood pressure taken. Lisa Schwartz, RN, CDE, and Pam Sloper, RN, provided the exit interviews to the individuals, and gave them information on abnormal levels. Each participant who had an abnormal “alert” value was asked to seek a consultation with their primary provider.

If you would like to have a biometric health screening in your community, please contact Renae Mathson at 966.8797 or

Teaching Elders to Prevent Falls

One third of all elders fall, and fifty percent of those elders fall again. Fifty percent of elders hospitalized due to falls do not return to independent living, and 42-percent of the elders who fall reduce their activity levels. Cory Welsh, (Senior Fall Prevention grant), led an interactive presentation on how to prevent falls at the Haines Senior Center on November 18, 2013. The elders discussed the risk factors for falling, both external and internal. External causes included environmental factors in the home (clutter, loose rugs, low lighting, electrical cords, etc.) and in the community (poorly maintained sidewalks, icy walkways, curb height, etc.) Internal reasons included risk factors within their own body (medical conditions), medication and poor vision.  Also included in the discussion were ways to prevent falls: ice cleats for feet, walking poles, crutches and canes, managing your health by talking with your provider and pharmacist about your current medications, getting annual vision checks, and improving balance, endurance and strength through physical activity. Elders were thrilled to receive rechargeable nightlight/flashlights, anti-slip bath stickers and handouts on fall prevention.

SEARHC Elder Fall Prevention offers home safety equipment such as rechargeable night/light flashlights, bath mats, toilet seat risers and frames, bath benches, grab bars, walking poles, cleats for canes, anti-slip bath stickers, and glow in the dark tape for inside the home. If you are interested in receiving any of the equipment listed, please contact Cory Welsh at 966-8866 or

Charles Clement
Charles Clement President/CEO
3100 Channel Drive, Ste. 300
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 463-4000

Just a reminder...

Patient Satisfaction Surveys

In order to ensure that we provide the best patient care and services possible, SEARHC has partnered with health care industry consultants, Press Ganey Associates, to gather patient satisfaction information through email surveys for all SEARHC outpatients.

All outpatients seen at MEH, ELMC, or a CHS clinic who have provided SEARHC with an email address will receive an email survey to rate the services received during a visit that took place approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior.

These confidential surveys cover topics such as wait time, access to our facilities, moving through a visit, interactions with nurses or assistants, assessment of provider’s service and efforts, as well as an overall assessment that outlines a few areas covered in the survey. Patients will also have the opportunity to provide comments as well.

Call ELMC for appointments on weekends

As of November 23, we will be moving from a weekend Walk-In Clinic model at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau to scheduling specific appointment times for patients on Saturday and Sunday.

It is our goal to provide access for patients without causing them the inconvenience of waiting to be seen on a first come, first served basis. This will make the process much smoother and provide the convenience of knowing one’s appointment time in advance, thus decreasing the long wait to be seen by a provider.

Expanded ELMC Clinic Hours

Our clinic and pharmacy hours at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau have permanently been extended. The clinic and the Pharmacy are now open from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Friday. The weekday hours were previously 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.