President’s Update for Aug. 17, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

Ethel Lund Medical Center to launch ‘Call in, don’t walk in’ process: In an effort to improve same-day access, the Ethel Lund Medical Center advises patients to “Call in, don’t walk in,” starting on Monday, Sept. 10. If patients want to be seen that day, they should call the ELMC scheduling desk at 463-6608 and schedule a same-day appointment. ELMC is working to improve continuity of care, efficiency, and patient satisfaction with this change. Information about this new process is available at the clinic, and information sheets are being distributed.

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Details set for two National Recovery Month events in Sitka: September is National Recovery Month, and the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division will team up with the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, Youth Advocates of Sitka, and Sitkans Against Family Violence to host two special recovery events in Sitka. The first event is a potluck social from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the SEARHC At Kaník Hít Community Health building first-floor conference room. People are encouraged to bring a dish to share, and there will be an open mic where people can tell their personal stories of recovery from mental and substance-use disorders. There also will be a short canoe journey before the potluck social, with canoe(s) expected to arrive at the Mt. Edgecumbe High School dock just before 6 p.m. (the event start is TBA with the location depending on the weather). The second recovery event is a recovery walk/potlatch that takes place from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. The recovery walk starts at 5:30 p.m. at Crescent Harbor and when everybody reaches the community house there will be dinner, drumming and Native dance groups. For more information, contact Harry Bradley at 966-8655.

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Dr. Noble Anderson and Lisa Schwartz, RN, to visit Skagway on Sept. 13: Dr. Noble Anderson, MD, and Lisa Schwartz, RN, from the Haines Health Center, will travel to Skagway on Thursday, Sept. 13, to see patients at the Dahl Memorial Clinic. Dr. Anderson will see patients from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. He will be available to see Native and non-Native patients, but priority will be given to SEARHC’s Indian Health Service beneficiaries. Lisa will be providing elder care case management services on this trip, so she will be available to see IHS beneficiaries either at the clinic or during home visits. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Anderson, please call the Dahl Memorial Clinic at 983-2255. Elders wanting to schedule an appointment with Lisa should call her at 766-6328 at the Haines Health Center.

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Applications available for Southeast Alaska Youth Ambassador Program: Applications for the 2012-13 Southeast Alaska Youth Ambassador Program are now being accepted. SEARHC invites one high school student from each of our 18 tribal communities in Southeast to work with the \"1 is 2 Many\" suicide prevention task force, helping find new ways to prevent suicide. The Youth Ambassador Program was created to bridge the gap between youth and adults, and to give all youth a role and a voice for positive change in their communities. For more information and program applications, go to http://www.searhc.org/programs/behavioral_health.php, or contact Megan Gregory at megan.gregory@searhc.org. Applications are due Oct. 20.

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CDC recommends all baby boomers be tested for hepatitis C: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that all U.S. baby boomers get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C is an unrecognized health crisis in the United States. This life-threatening infection affects an estimated 3.2 million Americans, most of whom are “baby boomers” (those born from 1945 through 1965). One in 30 baby boomers has been infected with hepatitis C, and most don’t know it. This population is five times more likely than other adult Americans to be infected with the virus Hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases, including liver cancer (the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths) and is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States. In addition, more than 15,000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die of hepatitis C-related illness each year (such as cirrhosis or liver cancer). The rates of hepatitis C-related illnesses have steadily grown over the past decade and they are expected to continue to grow significantly over the coming years. The CDC estimates one-time hepatitis C testing of baby boomers could identify more than 800,000 additional people with the virus. And with newly available therapies that can cure up to 75 percent of infections, expanded testing – along with linkage to appropriate care and treatment – would prevent the costly consequences of liver cancer and other chronic liver diseases and could save more than 120,000 lives. To learn more, contact your local medical provider who can arrange for you to be tested, or go to http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/index.htm.

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Alaska VA Healthcare System hosts Veterans Stand Down in Juneau: SEARHC will be one of several agencies helping the Alaska VA Healthcare System host a Veterans Stand Down on Sept. 7-8 at Centennial Hall in Juneau. SEARHC will join Department of Veterans Affairs staff as they provide one-on-one assistance for veterans and their families with enrollment for health services, filing claims for compensation, and learning about benefits, pensions and burial benefits. The Veterans Stand Down takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8. In addition to providing benefits assistance, gear will be distributed to veterans who need it (jackets, socks, cold-weather bed rolls, sheets, towels, caps, mittens, blankets, sweats and more). In addition to the VA and SEARHC, other participating agencies include the U.S. Coast Guard, the Alaska Jobs Center, the State of Alaska, the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Tribes of Alaska, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Southeast Native Veterans, the National Guard, tribal veteran representatives, the American Legion and the Disabled Veterans of America. To learn more about the Veterans Stand Down, contact VA Rural Health Program Coordinator Susan Yeager at 1-907-257-5460 or susan.yeager@va.gov, or contact Libby Watanabe at SEARHC at 463-6680 or libby.watanabe@searhc.org. For more info about the Alaska VA Healthcare System, call 1-888-353-7574 or go to http://www.alaska.va.gov/.

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Just a reminder …

Fall 2012 mobile mammogram van schedule starts this week in Hoonah: 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 visit Hoonah on Aug. 20-24, Haines on Aug. 27-Sept. 10, Skagway on Sept. 11-14, 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). 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, go to http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/.

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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