President’s Update for Sept. 25, 2010

In this edition...

The Joint Commission surveys hospital: S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital had its regular unannounced Joint Commission survey Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 22-23 (physician and nurse surveyor) and on Sept. 23 (life safety surveyor). The hospital remains accredited (an unchanged status). Frank Sutton, Chief Operating Officer, said that the surveyors had very positive things to say about the overall survey. The physician commented that his findings were mostly minor documentation issues. There were findings in a few areas including environment of care (facilities and life safety). The Joint Commission will post the official survey report on Monday, Oct. 4. The Accreditation Governing Body will receive a copy of the preliminary survey findings when the group meets on Monday, Sept. 27. Recalled baby formula might be in Southeast homes: On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Abbott Laboratories announced a voluntary recall of certain kinds of Similac powdered infant formula because of a possible contamination by beetles and beetle larvae at one production plant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the recalled formula poses no immediate health risk, but infants might get stomachaches. The recall covers about 5 million cans of powdered Similac (not the liquid version), and cans of the recalled formula have been found in Alaska. Some of the cans of recalled formula were distributed by state Women, Infants, Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program, and SEARHC operates the state’s WIC program for Southeast Alaska. Parents should look for a 12.4- or 12.9-ounce can of powdered Similac formula that has either a blue label (Similac Advance 12.4 ounces or Similac Advance EarlyShield 12.9 ounces) or a pink label (Similac Isomil Advance 12.9 ounces). The only cans affected by this recall have an “RB” near the end of the top line of the product code. Cans of Similac Sensitive distributed by WIC are not part of the recall. Complete details of the recall can be found at http://www.similac.com/recall/, or parents can call Abbott Laboratories at 1-800-986-8850 (24-hour line) to learn if their formula is part of the recall. If parents find they have cans of recalled formula, they should return them to the local grocery store or WIC clinic where they got it. SEARHC WIC clients with questions can call WIC representatives at 1-800-330-2229 in Juneau or 1-800-854-0878 in Ketchikan. SEARHC receives multi-year tobacco cessation/prevention grant from CDC: The SEARHC Tobacco Program has been awarded $250,000 for FY2011 to help fund its tobacco cessation and prevention efforts around the region. This is a multi-year grant, and the funding will allow us to continue the good work being done by our program. The program has four overall goals — to monitor tobacco use and prevention policies to track changes in the use of tobacco among Alaska Native youth and adults and exposure to secondhand smoke, to warn Alaska Native people about the dangers of tobacco use, to protect Alaska Natives from the dangers of secondhand smoke by eliminating exposure to it in workplaces and other places, and to promote tobacco cessation among Alaska Natives. The tobacco program will focus on both regional and statewide efforts, including a media campaign based out of Juneau and focusing on Hoonah and the Prince of Wales Island communities of Klawock, Craig and Hydaburg. SEARHC awarded $100,000 from National Public Health Improvement Program: On Monday, Sept. 20, SEARHC found out it was one of 94 state, tribal, local and territorial health departments to be awarded a share of $42.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. SEARHC will receive $100,000. The grants are so health departments can systematically increase the performance management capacity of their public health departments and improve their ability to meet national public health standards. SEARHC was one of three Alaska health agencies (the others were the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium) and one of eight tribal groups to win a grant. SEARHC will use the grant money to partially fund a reorganization of our quality improvement program, which includes hiring a new performance improvement director who will oversee our three quality improvement directors, our three new patient advocates and a data person. SEARHC recognized by Community Health Aide Program Certification Board: The Community Health Aide Program Certification Board recognized SEARHC for achieving a 100-percent certification rate for its Community Health Aides/Practitioners (CHA/Ps) as of June 2010. The certification board collects statewide CHA/P and Dental Health Aide/Therapist (DHA/T) data three times a year to plan future training needs. As of the June 2010 meeting, 85 percent of CHA/Ps were certified statewide. Besides having a current 100-percent certification level, SEARHC was acknowledged for consistently having a rate of 90 percent or higher since January 2008. SEARHC also had a 100-percent certification rate at the January 2010 meeting. Southeast Conference meeting: SEARHC Proposal Writer Kerry MacLane attended the annual meeting of the Southeast Conference on Sept. 14-16 in Petersburg. SEARHC is a member of Southeast Conference, and Kerry is now on their Health Education and Social Services Committee. During the meeting, Kerry addressed the conference about the work of the Alaska Food Policy Council, and discussed the economic and health benefits of improving access to healthy, local and traditional foods. Other discussion topics at the meeting included fisheries, tourism, solid waste, the Sealaska lands bill, and hydroenergy and hooking up communities through interties. Haines Health Center shares in Eye Care for Rural Alaskans grant: The Haines Health Center was one of 12 community health centers in Alaska to win an Eye Care for Rural Alaskans program grant from the Joint Vision Awareness Committee (Alaska Primary Care Association, Alaska Optometric Association, Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Lions Club). Each of the 12 clinics receives $165,000 to buy a vision screening device that can be used in the clinic/satellite clinics and other community facilities such as schools, provide annual visits to clinic by an eye doctor (at least 3-5 days per visit), an annual visit by a vision rehabilitation specialist to help patients with uncorrectable vision loss, and the provision of glasses and vision aids to patients in need. The Haines Health Center plans to screen all Haines school children during the first year of the grant, incorporate vision screenings into clinic visits so all patients are screened, and provide screenings at health fairs and other community events. The SEARHC Haines Health Center will share its vision screening device with the Dahl Memorial Clinic in Skagway. SEARHC awarded grant for dental digital radiology equipment: SEARHC has been awarded $83,820 for dental digital radiology equipment (a panoramic x-ray camera that can take a picture of the whole jaw) to be used at the Juneau Dental Clinic. The grant is part of the addendum to tribal contracting agreement to transfer funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. SEARHC awarded grant for computer interface to share data with the Indian Health Service: SEARHC has been awarded $100,000 for a computer interface that allows non-RPMS (Resource and Patient Management System) data with the Indian Health Service. This interface will help SEARHC improve its reporting capabilities and support improvements in the delivery of patient care, population health and program management as SEARHC moves from the IHS’s RPMS system to our Alert Life Sciences electronic medical record. Haines nurses complete emergency pediatric course: The SEARHC Haines Health Center in August hosted a two-day emergency nursing pediatric course. Trainers came from Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage to teach the course. Also, there are only 153 registered nurses in Alaska with the Certified Emergency Nurse credential, and the Haines Health Center has four of them (Haines also has an LPN who completed the CEN course in 2009, but does not hold the credential because it only is available for RNs). SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program will honor National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October by hosting Wear Pink Day on Friday, Oct. 1. At 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, the sixth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk takes place in Sitka, a free three-mile walk from Brenner’s Store across the O’Connell Bridge to Japonski Island and back. People who donate to the Sitka Cancer Survivors Association are eligible for prizes. For information, contact Susan Suarez at 966-8459. Save the dates for the fourth annual Sitka Health Summit on Oct. 4-5: The fourth annual Sitka Health Summit “Real Ideas In Action” has moved to the fall this year and takes place Oct. 4-5 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The event opens on Monday night, Oct. 4, with the Wellness Champions Award Ceremony and Dessert Evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. In addition to the community wellness champion awards, this year’s speaker will be Dr. Julien Naylor, an internal medicine and diabetes specialist from SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. The second day of the summit, on election Tuesday, Oct. 5, features the Planning Day: Real Ideas Into Action meeting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That’s when community members will discuss the health priorities for Sitka and decide what projects they want to pursue. SEARHC and Sitka Community Hospital are two of the main sponsor organizations for this event. For more information, go to http://www.sitkahealthsummit.org/ or contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or doug.osborne@searhc.org. SEARHC, Bartlett Regional Hospital mobile mammograms continues summer/fall schedule: The mobile mammogram van is visiting Klawock on Sept. 22-Oct. 8, followed by stops in Craig on Oct. 11-12 and Metlakatla on Oct. 14-22. The summer/fall schedule started with a visit to Hoonah on Aug. 23-27 to kick things off, Haines on Aug. 30-Sept. 13 and Skagway on Sept. 14-17. Appointment times are available from the local clinics. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. Between the spring and summer/fall seasons, the van provides about 800-900 women in nine communities with regular mammography screening services in places where the services aren’t available year round. For more information, contact your local clinic or call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program at 966-8782 in Sitka or 1-888-388-8782 (toll-free in Alaska), send an e-mail to askwh@searhc.org, or go online at http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/. Regards, Roald