SEARHC Honored with ASHNHA Staff Choice Award  

SITKA – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) was named the recipient of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association’s (ASHNHA) Staff Choice Award at the 2019 ASNHA Annual Conference in Girdwood on September 26.  SEARHC was recognized for dedication of multiple teams focusing on suicide prevention, increasing workplace safety and sterilization procedures.

SEARHC, under the guidance of a multi-disciplinary team consisting of leadership and front-line staff, has applied numerous changes over the past year to increase effectiveness in suicide prevention and workplace safety.  Changes include updating terminology and processes to create a safer environment for at risk patients in SEARHC care; re-working protocols for release of alcohol and substance abuse patients; creation of a health crisis team to improve coordination between SEARHC, public safety officers and EMS; and updating training and policies to combat weapons and workplace violence.

“The multi-disciplinary team has quickly become high-performing with significant positive outcomes resulting from their work,” said Mount Edgecumbe Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Kari Wilson.  “The team’s next steps are to help expand the work beyond the hospital setting, ultimately reaching the rest of the Consortium.”

ASHNHA also recognized SEARHC for sterilization procedures throughout the Dental division. On average, SEARHC performs over 50,000 procedures annually across 24 locations.  Under guidance from Lisa Cone, SEARHC Dental Trainer, process changes developed and implemented across the SEARHC Care Network have been lauded by the Joint Commission as best practice.  Standardizing of sterilization times, creation of an iPad based sterilization program, and implementation of interactive staff training proved so beneficial for the SEARHC Dental division that the same processes were applied to Primary Care locations across the Consortium.

“Lisa has worked with senior leadership and front-line staff to thoroughly address system issues,” said SEARHC’s Dr. Matthew West, DDS.  “She does all of this in addition to her duties as a registered dental hygienist, working primarily with the underserved homeless population in Juneau.  She has been instrumental in ensuring that, even after improvements gained, SEARHC has continued to refine and re-evaluate ways to further enhance high reliability.”

All totaled, SEARHC was the recipient for five awards at the ASHNHA Annual Conference.  In addition to the Staff Choice Award, SEARHC Wrangell Medical Center’s Performance Improvement Manager Cathy Gross was recognized with the Front-Line Staff Outstanding Performance Award, while long-term care facilities in Sitka and Wrangell took home a trio of awards for patient quality.