President’s Update for Oct. 23, 2010

In this edition...

Ethel Lund Medical Center hires new physician: We just heard this week that Dr. Kennon Kirk has accepted a position at the Ethel Lund Medical Center (ELMC), starting Dec. 6. Dr. Kirk finished a family medicine residency in Colorado. He is skilled in obstetrics/gynecology. Dr. Kirk is replacing Dr. Mark Peterson, who is retiring on Dec. 16 after many years of service to Southeast Alaska. Haines Health Center certified to bill for FESC services: We received word from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the SEARHC Haines Health Center is the third clinic certified to bill for Frontier Extended Stay Clinic (FESC) services. The first two clinics certified to bill for FESC services are part of the SEARHC-managed Alaska FESC Consortium (Inter Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor, Wash., was the first to be certified, followed by Iliuliuk Family and Health Services Inc. in Unalaska). FESC is a clinic located in a community where the closest short-term acute care hospital or critical access hospital is at least 75 miles away from the community or is inaccessible by public road. A FESC facility helps address the needs of seriously or critically ill or injured patients who cannot be transferred quickly to acute care referral centers due to adverse weather conditions or other reasons, or for patients who need monitoring or observation for a limited period of time. In addition to the Haines Health Center, SEARHC also has a FESC facility at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. SEARHC prosthodontist schedules visits for Klawock, Haines and Kake: Dr. Mitchell Wilkinson, SEARHC’s Juneau-based prosthodontist, provided services Oct. 4-8 at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. He is scheduled to visit the Haines Health Center on Oct. 25-28 and the Kake Health Center on Nov. 1-5. Dr. Wilkinson’s trips to Klawock and Kake are the first prosthodontic specialty clinic trips provided to those communities. Prosthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that concentrates on the making of dentures, bridges and crowns. It requires a lot of special equipment, supplies, space, several appointments and involves sending out models to outside labs. Typically patients who receive these services have to travel to Juneau, Sitka, Klawock or Haines. Update on the Hydaburg Health Center renovation project: The SEARHC Hydaburg Health Center renovation project is moving along, and about 80 percent of the exterior work is complete with new siding, windows, roofing and sidewalk being finished. Most of the remaining project is interior work. They are finishing the sheet rock so painting the interior can start this week. The final completion of this $1.39 million renovation project is scheduled for January. Hydaburg Health Center staff should be able to move back into the clinic in late January or early February from our temporary home in the Boys and Girls Club building next door. Kake Senior Center to host SEARHC pharmacist for special presentations: SEARHC S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital pharmacist Jenalyn Greenwood, PharmD, will give a presentation to Kake elders. The presentation, “Medication Safety and Your Health,” is scheduled for after lunch on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at the Kake Senior Center. Her talk will provide information and allow for discussion about medication safety, drug side effects, contraindications, over-the-counter medications and your health. Jenalyn also will provide an “Ask Your Pharmacist!” question-and-answer session about medications after lunch on Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Kake Senior Center. Jenalyn and Village Elder Services Case Manager Auriella Hughes, RN, will do home health visits for elders with medications. For more information about these presentations, contact Auriella at 966-8934. In addition to the pharmacy visits and presentations, the SEARHC Environmental Health team will work with the Organized Village of Kake that week to provide home health surveys for elders to help reduce the risk of elder falls. Auriella said they hope to arrange a similar trip to Angoon in the near future, hopefully next month. SEARHC Hoonah Health Center one-year celebration: SEARHC and the Hoonah Indian Association will host a community celebration honoring the first year of SEARHC managing the Hoonah Health Center. The celebration takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Hoonah. During the celebration, SEARHC will update Hoonah community members on services, the plans for the new clinic, and additional services we hope to bring to the community. For more information, call the SEARHC Hoonah Health Center at 945-2756. MEHS Student Health Center vaccinates students against the flu: On Thursday, Oct. 14, the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe High School (MEHS) Student Health Center, in conjunction with Mt. Edgecumbe High School and the Sitka Public Health Nurse, conducted an influenza vaccine clinic. Eighty-five percent of the student body was vaccinated with the 2010-2011 Influenza vaccine. This vaccination event took place in four hours, with the help of several SEARHC Community Health staff and community volunteers. We are especially grateful to the MEHS school staff, in particular Superintendent Randy Hawk and Paula Clayton, for their work in coordinating this event with students, parents and teachers. MEHS is a state-run boarding school for 412 high school students, with most of the students coming to Sitka from remote villages. Regards, Roald