President’s Update for Sept. 21, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

Dr. Bridget Willet joins SEARHC Dental staff as prosthodontist: Dr. Bridget Willet, DDS, recently joined the SEARHC Dental staff as a prosthodontist, specializing in the placement of crowns, bridges and dentures. Dr. Willet will be based in Juneau, but will provide services in other SEARHC communities as needed. Dr. Willet earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina, a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Maryland Dental School, and she earned a specialty certificate in prosthodontics and is eligible for a Master’s of Dental Science degree (pending the defense of her research thesis) from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. It was while she was completing her prosthodontics residency at the University of Connecticut that she was invited to join the June 2011 annual trip of prosthodontists and their students to the SEARHC Dental Clinic in Sitka, where she worked as laboratory technician fabricating dentures and surgical guides to be used during the placement of dental implants to retain lower dentures. She also served as a clinical and preclinical prosthodontics instructor for predoctoral dental students during her prosthodontics residency at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Willet is certified for general dentistry by the National Dental Board and the Northeast Regional Board. She successfully passed the first part of the certification exam from the American Board of Prosthodontics, and will take the second part of the exam next year. Dr. Willet graduated Magna Cum Laude (with highest honors) for her DDS and BS degrees. She is a Phi Chapter member of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honorary Dental Society, and she won the American College of Prosthodontics Achievement Award, and the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration and the Organizations of Teachers Dental Practice Administration Award. Her medical interests include dental implants, oral rehabilitation, esthetics, speech, thermoplastic resin materials and maxillofacial prosthodontics. She enjoys experiencing Alaska, music, art and snowboarding.

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SEARHC Domestic Violence Program helps with Healing Pole dedication in Haines: On Friday, Sept. 14, “The Healing Pole” was dedicated at the Chilkat Valley Arts Building in Haines, with the SEARHC Domestic Violence Program providing the hamburgers and hot dogs. The pole, which was painted by Haines artist Sue Folletti, is a community awareness pole to show Haines and Klukwan are united, with one voice, to take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault. According to SEARHC Domestic Violence Health Educator Jackie Mazeikas, about 100 people attended the event. She said the pole will be a visual reminder to all who see it daily that domestic violence and sexual assault do exist and as a community we are taking a stand, united, to say “No more.” The ceremony allowed the program to bring out its 36-ince drum and use it for the first time, and a dance group from Klukwan joined the festivities. In addition to the SEARHC Domestic Violence Program, the SEARHC Community Family Services Program also played a role in the ceremony, and SEARHC Board member Jan Hill spoke at the dedication.

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SEARHC, partners host National Recovery Month walk/potluck Sept. 29 in Sitka: Don't forget that September is National Recovery Month. If you're in Sitka, please mark Saturday, Sept. 29, on your calendar. The SEARHC Behavioral Health Division and its partners — the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services, and Sitkans Against Family Violence — will be hosting a Recovery Walk/Dinner to help honor the month. The walk starts at 5:30 p.m. at Crescent Harbor, with a short trek to the Sheet'ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi for a dinner that starts at 6 p.m. There will be drumming, Native dancing and t-shirts for the walkers. For more information, contact Harry Bradley at 966-8655. Join the voices of recovery. It’s worth it.

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SEARHC’SMILERS compete in Klondike “Trail of ’98” International Road Relay: The 10-runner mostly SEARHC Dental team called SEARHC’SMILERS (which is meant to be read as both SEARHC Smilers and SEARHC’s Milers) completed the 109.8-mile Klondike “Trail of ’98” International Road Relay from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, on Sept. 7-8. The team completed the 30th annual running of the race in 18 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds, to finish 12th out of 17 teams in the corporate division and 82nd out of 123 teams overall. The race starts on Friday night, and runners race over the Chilkoot Trail and beyond to arrive in Whitehorse on Saturday afternoon. This year there was snowy slush near the summit of the White Pass. There were 1,330 runners and walkers overall in the event, with is a Labor Day tradition for runners in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. The SEARHC’SMILERS team featured Dr. Tom Bornstein, Lisa Cone, Charles Clement, Sydney Akagi, Julie White, Kevin Heffern, Dr. Matt West, Dr. Alice Nunes, Liz Mallott and Olivia Barrow. The support crew included Todd White, Joe Mallott, Zach Cone and Mast Mallott.

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Alexis Hout hired as tobacco cessation counselor/educator for Prince of Wales: The SEARHC Tobacco Program has hired Alexis Hout as a part-time health educator at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. Alexis will provide tobacco cessation and education services to Prince of Wales Island. Alexis spent this past week at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage for tobacco treatment specialist training. She holds an Associate of Applied Sciences degree in human services with an emphasis in substance abuse, and she holds a CDC 1 (Chemical Dependency Counselor 1) certification from the State of Alaska. Alexis is a personal care attendant with Community Connections in POW, and has been a program assistant with the Fairbanks Native Association’s Women’s and Children’s Center.

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Libby Watanabe takes new role as patient access administrator for SEARHC: Libby Watanabe, MPA, RD, LD, who until recently had been special assistant to the president/CEO, has taken a new role as SEARHC’s patient access administrator. This is a new position at SEARHC, designed to improve clinic registration processes across the consortium and to support and strengthen our revenue cycle management. Libby will develop curriculum and coordinate training, and she will draft policies and procedures for patient access staff across the consortium. She also will work with patients to help them register for any third-party payer programs they might be eligible for, such as Medicare/Medicaid, Denali KidCare or veterans benefits, which SEARHC can bill to extend its resources to provide additional services. Libby has been with SEARHC since 1989, with occasional breaks to attend college. She started out as a night aide for the old Alcohol Therapy Service in Sitka, then moved over to the Hospital Nutrition Services Department where she worked her way up from dishwasher to chief dietitian (she held that position from 2002-09). Libby became special assistant to the president/CEO when her family moved to Juneau in 2009.

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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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Just a reminder …

Fall 2012 mobile mammogram van schedule continues with visit to POW: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program and Bartlett Regional Hospital have announced the Fall 2012 schedule for the mobile mammogram program. The mobile mammography van will be in Klawock on Sept. 19-28 and Oct. 3-9, Craig on Oct. 1-2, and Metlakatla on Oct. 11-19 (no weekend or holiday appointments). The van already visited Hoonah, Haines and Skagway on this season’s schedule. Women are encouraged to contact their local clinics prior to the scheduled visit because they will need to receive a clinical breast exam before they can get their mammograms. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. It makes regular mammography screening services available to women who live in communities where they aren’t available year round. The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program provides free clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests and cardiovascular screenings for all women ages 40 and older who meet income and insurance guidelines. For more information, contact your local clinic, call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in Sitka at 966-8782 (or 1-888-388-8782, toll-free in Alaska), or send e-mail to askwh@searhc.org. For more information about services available through the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program.

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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...