President’s Update for Dec. 11, 2010

In this edition...

In this edition …Systems transformation update: ALERT® Founder/CEO Dr. Jorge Guimarães spent the week at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau with his director of U.S. operations and a new project manager dedicated to SEARHC. They met with multiple SEARHC staff to discuss two things — the many updates to the ALERT electronic medical record software developed for SEARHC since his September visit and ALERT’s roadmap for improvements over the next six months. New features include electronic signature using a fingerprint reader, improved allergy documentation, and a new way to incorporate dictated notes directly into ALERT. SEARHC also received a second visit from electronic health record consultant Dr. Thomas Payne, Medical Director for Information Technology Services at the University of Washington. Dr. Payne spent two days in Juneau working directly with the systems transformation steering committee and with ALERT. Dr. Payne will continue to monitor ALERT’s progress and help SEARHC move the project forward. Other systems transformation projects continue to move forward with upgrades to lab, pharmacy and billing software. Materiel Management is rolling out a new inventory module, and the lab package and new computer equipment will be delivered to Alicia Roberts Medical Center in January. Back to top Congress remains on Continuing Resolutions: The U.S. Congress remains on continuing resolutions to keep the government operating until a new fiscal year budget is adopted (beginning Oct. 1, 2010). This is a very tight time for cash flows in our non-profit tribal organizations. We await the adoption of the Interior appropriations bill or Omnibus legislation (all the remaining bills at once). The newest continuing resolution was approved on Dec. 4. This continuing resolution will run from Dec. 4-18. We should get this small portion of Compact funds around Dec. 12. Our funding agreements are set up to receive an entire year’s payments at the beginning of the fiscal year (if a congressional budget is adopted). We then expend these funds throughout the fiscal year including several prepayments for insurances, rents, and other fiscal year start-up costs. Back to top William Micklin named to HHS Secretary’s tribal advisory council: William Micklin, first vice-president of the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, has been named the primary representative for Alaska on a new tribal advisory council for U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. Andy Teuber Jr., a tribal council member from the Woody Island Tribal Council on Kodiak and board president of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, is the alternate representative for Alaska. The new Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Council (STAC) has a primary and alternate representative from each of the 12 Indian Health Service regions, plus there are five primary and two alternate at-large members (all from the Lower 48, so far). The new council will meet for the first time on Dec. 13-14, and it is the first time a HHS secretary has created a tribal advisory council. To learn more about the council and what it will do, go to http://www.hhs.gov/intergovernmental/tribal/. Back to top Wrangell youth produce “ALASKASIZE” workout DVD: A group of young people from Wrangell, ages 3-15, have produced a unique ALASKASIZE workout DVD with the help of adult leaders from the SEARHC Traditional Foods program and the Johnson O’Malley program. The ALASKASIZE DVD is modeled after the “Rez Robics” aerobics video, but the kids modified the movements to be more about Alaska. The kids might make a movement like pulling a net to get their upper bodies working, or they might cut wood, stack wood or peel cedar bark off trees. SEARHC Traditional Foods program coordinator Tammi Meissner said the children also learn Tlingít words from Tlingít language instructor Virginia Oliver (who also is a SEARHC employee). In addition, producing the DVD helped spark conversations about healthy communities, keeping kids moving and preventing diabetes. The DVD is being distributed to all elementary and middle school classrooms in Wrangell, and elders also are using it. For more information about the video, contact Tammi at tammi.meissner@searhc.org. Back to top S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital receives accreditation letter from The Joint Commission: S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital received its official accreditation letter from The Joint Commission. The letter means the hospital now is accredited for three years effective Sept. 24. The accreditation is based on an unannounced survey in September, with a November visit to check on a couple of minor fix-it items and an evidence of standards compliance audit in early December. Back to top Dr. Mark Peterson retires from Ethel Lund Medical Center: After a bit more than 23 years of service, Dr. Mark Peterson is retiring on Dec. 16 as a family physician at the Ethel Lund Medical Center. Dr. Peterson started work with SEARHC on Aug. 4, 1987, and he has been with us through a period of tremendous growth. We will be wishing him bon voyage with a retirement party from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 28, at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center. This is a potluck dinner with light snacks and refreshments provided. Please join us in wishing Dr. Peterson a happy retirement. Dr. John K. “Kennon” Kirk was hired to join the ELMC medical staff as Dr. Peterson retires. Back to top Congress reauthorizes Special Diabetes Program for Indians through 2013: The Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) has been reauthorized through 2013 following votes on Section 112 of H.R. 4994 by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday and U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. This is good news, because the extension provides $300 million ($150 million a year, the same as current levels) for SDPI plus a Special Type 1 Diabetes Program. If Congress had not voted to reauthorize the act this week, the SDPI would have ended in September 2011. Reauthorization of SDPI was critical as American Indians/Alaska Natives have some of the highest diabetes rates in the country, nearly twice the rates of other ethnic groups, and this program has shown positive results in preventing diabetes. Back to top New behavioral health clinician starts work at Alicia Roberts Medical Center: Mary Eberle, MSW, recently started work as a behavioral health clinician at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. Mary holds a Master of Social Work degree from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and she has a Bachelor of Arts degree in cross-cultural relations from Bard College in Simon’s Rock, Ohio. Before moving to Klawock, Mary worked as an outreach substance abuse and mental health counselor in Columbus, Ohio. She specializes in individual, family and group therapy, and Mary’s medical interests include addiction and trauma recovery, mood disorders and working with adolescents. She also enjoys nature, hiking, books, writing fiction and travel. Back to top SEARHC hosts community conversation on FASD: SEARHC will host a community conversation about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) on Jan. 5-8, 2011, in Sitka. The highlight of the week is a community presentation “FASD in Our Sitka Community — Hopeful Outcomes for All of Us,” which takes place from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. This event will feature internationally recognized FASD expert and educator Deb Evensen, MA, of Homer, founder of FAS Alaska, and Morgan Fawcett, a 19-year-old Tlingít man originally from Juneau who lives with the effects of FASD. During the week, Deb, Morgan and Shannon Cross, LCSW, will meet with local school officials, law enforcement/legal workers, preschool workers, medical and behavioral health providers so they can better understand and support people with FASD. Deb will teach a one-credit graduate-level class for teachers about FASD, and Deb and Shannon will lead a one-day retreat for mental health clinicians. For more information, contact Gayle Young at the SEARHC Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic in Sitka at 966-8815. Back to top Regards, Roald