SEARHC honors National Patient Advocacy Week

April 04 2012

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is joining with other health care organizations around the country to honor National Patient Advocacy Week on April 9-15, an event organized by the Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy.

Patient advocates play an important role in improving a patient’s health care experience. They serve as a liaison between patients, families, the hospital or clinic, and its medical staff. They advocate for patient rights, promote patient satisfaction, serve as a point of contact for organization-wide complaints and grievances, and provide feedback to the organization so it can improve the patient experience. Patient advocates also provide information for the patient regarding services and resources both within and outside the health care organization.

“Patient advocates are an essential link between our patients, providers and health care system,” SEARHC Performance Improvement Division Director Rhonda Bowen said. “Through their work, we are able to resolve individual concerns and also identify and improve our processes. Thank you, patient advocates, for your important service to our patients.”

SEARHC has three patient advocates in Southeast Alaska — Bryan Whitson, Ashley Hunt and Cyndi Reeves — who serve as customer service liaisons between patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate their way through SEARHC’s health system. Also, 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.

The SEARHC patient advocates, their contact information and the communities they serve are:

  • Bryan Whitson (966-8860 office, is based at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka and serves our patients from Sitka, Angoon, Kake, Pelican, Petersburg, Wrangell, Yakutat and Tenakee Springs.
  • Ashley Hunt (463-6656 office, is based at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau and serves Juneau, Haines, Klukwan, Hoonah and Skagway.
  • Cyndi Reeves (755-4983 office, 965-0040 cell, is based at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock and serves Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Kasaan and Thorne Bay.
  • Anchorage patient advocates (729-3992 main office, or Tammy Philemonoff at 729-3990) are based at and employed by the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. They serve patients from around the state receiving care in Anchorage.

In addition to patient advocates, 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).