President’s Update for Feb. 18, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition … SEARHC adds 24/7 on-call travel coordinators: Are you a SEARHC patient who needs after-hours help while traveling for a medical appointment? SEARHC now has a 24/7 on-call travel number. A staff person is on-call to help you when your flight has been diverted due to weather or you need late-night help with housing. For assistance, call 1-800-916-8566 (toll-free in Alaska) or 1-907-966-8345 in Sitka and follow the prompts for assistance. To help us better help you, please call as soon as you can get to a phone after you know your flight has been changed. Back to top SEARHC offers Gatekeeper suicide prevention training in Skagway, Haines and Klukwan: Rodney Hinson and Sheryl McAllister of the SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention/Suicide Prevention Program will host free Gatekeeper suicide prevention training in Skagway, Klukwan and Haines. Rodney and Sheryl will be in Skagway on Monday, Feb. 21, to train about 20 people from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the school. On Tuesday, Feb. 22, Sheryl will go to Klukwan to lead a small class from 9 a.m. to 4:30-5 p.m. in the school library. Finally, Rodney and Sheryl will lead a two-day class at the Haines Firehall from 6-10 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22, and 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Feb. 23. Gatekeeper is an eight-hour nationally recognized training that helps students obtain a greater understanding of suicide, learn the basics of being a Gatekeeper and practice gatekeeping skills using scenarios. Students learn about factors that lead a person to consider suicide, attitudes of responders to attempted suicide, myths and misconceptions about suicide, data and statistics of suicide in Alaska, signs and symptoms of suicide, common helper emotions, suicide research, interventions for responders, and state and local contacts including the toll-free hotline (the 24/7 toll-free SEARHC Help Line number is 1-877-294-0074). For more information, contact Rodney Hinson at 766-6306 or 303-2929 in Haines, Elsie Spud at 767-5592 in Klukwan, or Sheryl McAllister at 966-8933 in Sitka. Back to top DC delegation trip: This week, SEARHC Board Executive Committee member Jolene Edenshaw and executive staff visited with members of our Congressional Delegation, their staff, the Indian Health Service Director, staff of the Senate Indian Affairs,House Natural Resources and Senate Appropriations committees, the tribal liaison with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and rural health policy advocates. We focused on capital funding needs for the new Hoonah Health Center facility, Indian Health Service Funding (FFY2011 & 2012), our economies of scale as a regional provider and Contract Support Cost shortfalls. We also discussed possible funds for replacement of Yéil Jeeyáx Raven’s Way program buildings on Biorka Island (classroom, dining hall, and caretakers facilities) and relocation of the Front Street Clinic in Juneau. We updated our delegation and staff on our efforts around diabetes and suicide prevention, improved coordination with Veterans Affairs, and followed up on implementation of the reauthorization for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Back to top President releases proposed FFY2012 Budget: President Obama released his Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) budget for 2012 Monday morning (on Valentine’s Day). The news media cites multiple sources that there will be a rocky road ahead on the budget when it is considered by Congress. There are several discretionary programs that we watch during the Federal budget process. These programs make up the majority of our compact funding or significant grants to our programs. These programs include the: Indian Health Service (IHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA); and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Other Federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid are largely mandatory and show increases in the President’s FFY2012 budget. The summary language from his proposal to Congress is below:
Improves Access to Health Care for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). The budget includes $4.624 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) to strengthen federal, tribal, and urban programs that serve 1.9 million AI/ANs at approximately 650 facilities nationwide. The Administration will also expand access to critical Contract Health Services to cover health care services provided outside of the Indian health system when services are not available at IHS-funded facilities. In addition, the Administration funds staff and operating costs at new and expanded facilities to increase access to health care services and enhance the Indian health system.
Below is a brief rundown on his recommended appropriations to Congress:
PRESIDENT’S BUDGET (2012) Indian Health Service
FY2012 Approp$4,624,000,000
FY2010 Approp$4,053,000,000
% diff14.09%
FY2012 Approp$5,893,000,000
FY2010 Approp$6,467,000,000
% diff(8.88%)
FY2012 Approp$6,821,000,000
FY2010 Approp$7,506,000,000
% diff(9.13%)
FY2012 Approp$3,387,000,000
FY2010 Approp$3,431,000,000
% diff(1.28%)
Back to top SEARHC recruiting for POW behavioral health clinicians: SEARHC Behavioral Health is actively recruiting to fill two behavioral health clinician vacancies at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock resulting from resignations from both Richard Hamilton and Mary Eberle. Richard’s last day at the ARMC is Feb. 18, and Mary’s last day is March 25. In the event that we are not able to fill either position before Mary's departure, a behavioral health clinician from Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít (outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka) will be assigned intermittently until a clinician position is filled. In addition to having a full time clinician at ARMC, at all times clients may also receive services through telebehavioral health, which can be coordinated with Community Family Service Workers Anna Trudeau at ARMC or Elena Martin in Craig. Any questions may be directed to Behavioral Health Division Director Melody Price-Yonts at 966-8776. Back to top Juneau Dental to host dental fair for young children: In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the SEARHC Juneau Dental Clinic is hosting a children’s dental health fair from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the SEARHC Juneau Dental Clinic. The fair is free and is geared for children ages 5 or younger. Refreshments will be provided, and all participating children will receive a toothbrush and other goodies. Dudley the Dinosaur also plans to make an appearance. During the children’s dental health fair, kids will be given dental chair rides, will learn how to take care of their teeth, see a skit, play games, color their snack bags and do other fun activities to learn about good oral health. For more information, call Lexi Olsen at the SEARHC Juneau Dental Clinic at 463-4049. Back to top 2011 Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP) applications available: Each year, SEARHC selects several Southeast-area Native students interested in health careers for the Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP), and the students spend a week at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka learning about different health careers and educational requirements. Health careers usually offer good pay and employee benefits, as well as the satisfaction of helping others. The health field is growing, which means plenty of job opportunities for people with the right training. This year's VHOP session is scheduled for April 18-22, with travel dates being April 17 and 23. Students selected to participate in VHOP receive assistance to cover the travel costs to and from Sitka, housing, meals and some evening entertainment. The application deadline is Monday, March 21. Completed applications may be mailed to Romee McAdams at SEARHC, c/o Human Resources Department, 222 Tongass Drive, Sitka, AK 99835. Applications also can be faxed to 966-8404, or scanned and e-mailed to Because space is limited, interested students should apply early. Application packets are available at high school offices, at local village corporations or by going to VHOP is sponsored by SEARHC and funded by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority through the Alaska Area Health Education Center at the Alaska Center for Rural Health. Back to top Regards, Roald