President’s Update for Oct. 12, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

Sarah Niecko joins Ethel Lund Medical Center staff: Sarah Niecko, PA-C, has joined the Ethel Lund Medical Center staff as a physician assistant. Sarah comes to SEARHC from the upper Kuskokwim River village of Aniak, where she worked as a physician assistant for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, health and humanities at Michigan State University. She earned a Master of Science degree in medicine from Western Michigan University. She is certified by the National Credentialing Center for Physician Assistants and she is a member of the American Association of Physician Assistants. Sarah’s medical interests include medical missions, and she enjoys sewing, quilting, running, reading, hiking and spending time with her husband.

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SEARHC Tobacco Program adds new cessation counselor for Sitka: At long last we were able to fill the Sitka Tobacco Health Educator focused on tobacco cessation. Ramon Quevedo will start work on Oct. 15. Ramon is a 2008 graduate from the University of California Riverside with a degree in psychology. He has been living in Sitka since 2010 working with the Sitka School District as a special education paraprofessional and as a skills trainer at Youth Advocates of Sitka. Ramon is a patient, bright, and gentle person that we think will be a wonderful asset to the SEARHC Tobacco team.

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Electronic health records (EHRs) take a step toward implementation: The RPMS (Resource and Patient Management System) EHR now is in use by a small group of SEARHC staff — pharmacists, select medical providers and nurses, and an optometrist. On the horizon are pilot go-lives for nutrition and physical therapy. The SEARHC and IHS EHR implementation teams met four times in September to continue EHR configuration and training, and work sessions have been scheduled through March 2013. SEARHC subgroups are working on many pieces of the EHR, including clinical documentation, lab, radiology, pharmacy and document scanning. The SEARHC EHR Implementation Leadership Team, or steering committee, meets regularly to keep the project on track. Staff have attended training in lab, pharmacy, health information management, pharmacy billing and reporting. Much of the cost for this training has been covered by the Regional Extension Center, a program funded by the federal government to help providers adopt and use EHRs. Through another federal program called the “Meaningful Use” Incentive Program, SEARHC already has received $340,750, with about $1 million more anticipated by the end of the year.

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SEARHC honors National Physical Therapy Month in October: October is National Physical Therapy Month, and the S'áxt' Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Physical Therapy Department hosted a \"Bring Motion to Life!\" open house on Wednesday, Oct. 10. All were welcome to attend and refreshments were served. The open house featured three guest lectures by SEARHC Physical Therapy staff — \"Balance Training\" by physical therapist Gio Villanueva, \"The Ergonomic Workstation\" by physical therapist Alexei Desatoff, and \"Protect the Joints\" by occupational therapist Lois Denherder.

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SEARHC honors National Healthcare Resource and Materials Management Week: Oct. 7-13 is National Healthcare Resource and Materials Management Week (MM Week), and we are celebrating supply chain and materials management professionals for their outstanding contributions to health care and the overall success of the supply chain. Sponsored by the Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management (AHRMM), the MM Week provides an opportunity to recognize the integral role supply chain professionals play in delivering high-quality patient care throughout the health care industry. This year’s theme is “Resource & Materials Management: Champions of Patient Safety, Quality & Efficiency.”

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National Health Service Corps celebrates 40th anniversary on Oct. 11: On Thursday, Oct. 11, thousands of primary care medical, dental and behavioral health professionals helped the National Health Service Corps celebrate 40 years of increasing access to health care in America’s underserved areas. The National Health Service Corps currently has 10,000 providers offering health services to more than 10.5 million people in urban, rural and frontier areas (including about 65 health professionals working in Alaska). Since 1972, about 40,000 health professionals have participated in the program. The Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare) recently provided about $229.4 million to the program to support the doctors and nurses while increasing access to care. The program has nearly tripled in size since 2008. Participants in the National Health Service Corps receive help repaying student loans or receive scholarships so they can continue to study, and the program provides a variety of other resources to help support the health professionals provide services. Click here to learn more about the program.

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Just a reminder …

SEARHC now has a page on Facebook: If you haven’t already done so, please check out SEARHC’s new page on Facebook. This page will provide people with updates about what’s happening around the consortium. This page is new, so it will be adding more content over time. If you’re on Facebook, please like our page so you can keep up on the news at SEARHC.

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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.

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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

Charles Clement

Just a reminder...