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SEARHC President’s Update

SEARHC President's Desk

09/24/2011-In this edition ...





S'áxt' Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital works to speed patient medication refill time: As part of the S'áxt' Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Outpatient Department's Improving Patient Care program activities, the department has initiated a joint improvement plan with the hospital pharmacy for Sitka outpatient patients. The goal is to reduce the turnaround time for medication renewals and to improve the clinical follow-through for patients. After a patient requests a medication renewal, a registered nurse reviews the patient chart for lab work or other necessary tests needed prior to the medication renewal. The entire process has been reviewed and significant changes already have taken place. In the first two weeks of this initiative, the turnaround time has gone from 10-14 days to 2-4 days on average for routine refills and renewals. For patients who need to see their primary care provider before medications are renewed, the RN is able to explain why this is medically necessary. This direct communication with a nurse will keep patient involved in the whole process. The hospital Outpatient Department welcomes any patient feedback regarding this improved process. As a reminder, patients still should call the pharmacy line at 966-8347 to request medications.
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SEARHC President and CEO to become ANTHC CEO: SEARHC President and CEO Roald Helgesen has announced he is leaving SEARHC to assume the CEO position at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). A transition plan is moving forward as SEARHC launches a nationwide search to replace Helgesen, whose last day with SEARHC will be in the middle of December. At ANTHC, he will run Alaska's largest tribal health organization, one that provides services to Alaska Natives from every region in the state, including SEARHC.

"We are sad that Roald has decided to leave SEARHC and we look forward to working with him at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium level," said Jolene Edenshaw, Chair of the SEARHC Board of Directors.

"It was a tough decision to leave SEARHC as I have worked with a very supportive board, living among family, friends and wonderful communities," Helgesen said. "It is an honor to be able to work toward SEARHC's mission of providing the highest quality health services in partnership with Native people. I look forward to continuing my work with SEARHC and Alaska's other regional health organizations to improve the delivery of health services to Native people throughout the state."
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Dr. Robert Gannon joins ARMC staff: This week, Robert D. Gannon, MD, started working at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. Dr. Gannon comes to SEARHC from Utah, where he spent the past 15 years working at the Salt Lake VA Hospital and also spent the past five years working in the emergency room at Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele. Before that, he spent 10 years working in the emergency room at the Salt Lake Regional Medical Center and three years with the emergency room at the Duchesne County/Uintah Basin Medical Center in Roosevelt. Dr. Gannon is board certified in emergency medicine by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He earned his medical degree from the St. Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., and completed a residency in emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center/Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Gannon enjoys the outdoors, and had taken about 10-15 fishing trips to Southeast Alaska over the past 20 years. Now that his children are grown, he is moving to Alaska.
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Yéil Jeeyáx Raven's Way hosts Alaska Association for Homes for Children: This week the Yéil Jeeyáx Raven's Way residential adolescent substance abuse treatment program hosted the Alaska Association for Homes for Children bi-annual meeting on Sept. 21-23 at the At Kaník Hít Community Health building in Sitka. The association represents residential treatment programs throughout the State of Alaska including Alaska Baptist Family Services, Alaska Children's Services, North Star Behavioral Health, The Salvation Army Booth Memorial Home, Juneau Youth Services, Presbyterian Hospitality House, Nome Children's Home, North Slope Borough DHSS-CYS (Department of Health and Social Services-Children and Youth Services), Duckworth House in Ketchikan, Youth Advocates of Sitka, Palmer RTC (Residential Treatment Center) and Raven's Way. The meeting focused on therapeutic foster care; upcoming RAC (Recovery Audit Contractor) audits; meeting with Steve Krall from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services-Division of Behavioral Health on updates from the state; and tours of Raven's Way, Mt. Edgecumbe High School and Youth Advocates of Sitka.
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Elder care meetings in Angoon: SEARHC Elder Care Nurse Case Manager Auriella Hughes, RN, traveled to Angoon this week and with Dan Johnson, the Elder Care Resource Coordinator, facilitated two, mid-day, fun, educational discussion sessions with elders at the Angoon Senior Center. On Tuesday they met after lunch for two hours and Auriella gave a presentation about the importance of advanced health care directives and talking with family and loved ones about your wishes. She also answered pertinent questions from the elder group. On Wednesday they met for two hours and Auriella presented an introductory look at Alzheimer's disease, basic physiology, the signs, symptoms, plus dementia vs. typical age-related changes. Auriella also met one-on-one with elders in the clinic setting and gave them educational handouts about the new audiologist at SEARHC, medication reconciliation, advanced health care directives, and the new Honoring Our Elders brochure with SEARHC elder program and contact information.
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SEARHC hosts table at Juneau Preparedness Fair: The Juneau LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) invited SEARHC to have a table at the Juneau Preparedness Fair on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24, at Centennial Hall. Debra Graem, RN, coordinated our efforts for the fair. She had pharmacy prepare a presentation "Medication Considerations for Disaster Planning" that was made twice during the fair. Russell Cameron, who is a Safety Officer at S'áxt' Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital, staffed the table and distributed a variety of safety pamphlets, including one to help senior citizens prepare for a disaster. We also distributed safety vials from the Capital City Fire Department and Juneau LEPC, which is a vinyl pocket where people can store their medication lists, medical history, primary care provider info and emergency contact information. A magnet can hold the safety vial on the home refrigerator, so EMTs can grab it if called to the house in an emergency or people can take it with them during a disaster.
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Seventh Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk is Oct. 1 in Sitka: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women's Health Program and Brenner's Fine Clothing and Gifts are teaming up to host the seventh annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, in Sitka. Registration for this three-mile walk is at 8:30 a.m. at Brenner's, and those who make a donation to the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society will receive a free gift. Also, Friday, Oct. 7, is Wear Pink Day in honor of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. SEARHC, Sitka Community Hospital and other partners will be hosting a variety of other breast cancer awareness events in Sitka during October, including a harbor cruise, silent auction and a couple of open house events. For more information, contact Susan Suarez at 966-8459.
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Alaska Senior Fall Prevention Week is Sept. 18-24: Elder falls are the top cause of injury for Alaskans age 65 and older, with many falls leading to serious injuries such as brain trauma or hip fractures. Sept. 18-24 has been declared Alaska Senior Fall Prevention Week to bring attention to the problem. During this week, the Alaska Senior Fall Prevention Coalition is spreading the message statewide that it's never too early or too late to take simple steps to prevent falls and build healthy habits. SEARHC also has been working to prevent elder falls. We offer the WELL-Balanced (Wise Elders Living Longer) training to help elders prevent falls, plus we offer fall risk assessments through our Injury Prevention program and the Elder Care Case Management Program. When we do risk fall assessments, we note what safety items might be missing in elder homes (such as no-slip bath mats, grab bars, YakTrax, reflective tape, etc.) and try to fill those needs. SEARHC Health Promotion reminds elders to get their eyes checked annually, talk to a doctor or pharmacist about their medications, do strength and balance training, and have a home risk assessment done to prevent falls. To learn more about preventing elder falls, go to http://www.alaskaaging.org/falls/.
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National Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 18-24: This week also is National Child Passenger Safety Week, and the Alaska Child Passenger Safety Partnership site, http://www.carseatsak.org/, posted a 30-second video PSA featuring Lorena Gray of the SEARHC Southeast Alaska Child Passenger Safety Program and her son getting fitted for a car seat. Child passenger seats are required for all children between the ages of 4 and 8 years old who are 4 feet, 9 inches or shorter or weigh less than 65 pounds. Due to the wide variety of car styles and child passenger seats, more 80 percent of them are improperly fitted for the car, which can increase a child's risk of injury in a car wreck. The SEARHC Injury Prevention Program has trained certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians in several Southeast communities, who can check car seats for parents to make sure they are a proper fit for the child and car. We also work with local partners to host special child car seat fitting checks, such as the one we helped host on Sept. 13 in Haines with Safe Kids Alaska and the Haines Police Department. To learn more, contact Lesa Way in Sitka at 966-8804 or Lorena Gray in Juneau at 364-4456.
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Colorectal cancer screening contest and upcoming Nolan the Colon visits: The SEARHC Colorectal Cancer Screening Program recently launched a new campaign to promote colorectal cancer screening and awareness. The campaign will use onscreen ads at the movies, newspaper ads, radio PSAs, fliers and a direct mail piece. There are two fliers - one targeting men that features Haines carver Wayne Price with the theme "Carve Out Some Time For Your Health," and one for women featuring the hands of Klukwan weaver Lani Hotch with the theme "Weaving Wellness Into Our Lives." Patients in our program who schedule and complete their colonoscopies by Dec. 31 will be entered for a chance to win 15,000 miles from Alaska Airlines (enough for an in-state round-trip ticket). Also, the program will have Nolan the Colon in Southeast Alaska during October. Nolan the Colon is scheduled to be at the Sitka Community Health Fair (part of the Sitka Health Summit) from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 1, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Nolan the Colon also will be at the Women's Health Forum in Juneau from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Centennial Hall, and Nolan will be available from 3-8 p.m. after the forum ends. The 25-foot-long, 14-foot-high inflatable colon also will be making appearances at various communities and schools in the region during the month. If you are interested in hosting a Nolan event or if you are interested in the promotional campaign and contest, please contact Becky (Koslovich) Martello at 966-8936 or becky.martello@searhc.org.
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Regards,
Roald Helgesen

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