Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ Alice Neidiffer, Activities Coordinator.
▲ Ashley Kawashima, Behavioral Health clinician, with her dog Gerdie.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Jennifer Bryner, CNO, speaking at the pinning ceremony for nursing students who recently completed the two-year University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing distance program. Nursing students from left: Lauren Thain, Kim Robson, Emma Gates and Kelly Bieber.
Welcoming new staff and the return of the Paddle Battle
STAFF CHANGES AT PMC: We are excited to welcome current and new staff into new roles at Petersburg Medical Center!

Jill Dormer has been with PMC since 2011 and has filled many roles here over the years. We are excited to see her transition into the new position of chief information officer. We look forward to the insight and drive Jill will bring to this new challenge.

Alice Neidiffer joined the PMC team in 2020 as a certified nurse aide. This May she accepted her new role as activities coordinator. Alice brings enthusiasm to the Activities Department.

Ashley Kawashima was welcomed to the PMC team this last month. Ashley is a licensed master social worker and a chemical dependency counselor. We are excited to have Ashley join the team.

PADDLE BATTLE: During this month's PMC Foundation meeting the board voted to sponsor our annual Paddle Battle this summer, with all proceeds going to our scholarship funds. We are keeping a close eye on the weather but hope the event will take place in early July. Stay tuned for updates about prizes and what you can look forward to at this year's event. We hope to see you all there!

COVID-19 HOTLINE: Think you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? Please call our COVID-19 hotline number, 907-772-5788, to speak with a medical professional. You’ll be advised as to whether you should come to the drive-through station for testing. 

STAY INFORMED, STAY SAFE: We share frequent COVID-19 updates with the community.
  • Tune in to KFSK every Friday at 12:30pm for COVID-19 information.
  • We provide the latest hospital updates on our Facebook page: 
  • Check the COVID-19 Information Hub website, our unified command page with the Borough:
  • Check our website for updates as well:

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
UAA nursing students celebrate graduation after two years of study
A traditional nurse pinning ceremony on Saturday, May 1, celebrated the completion of a two-year nursing degree program for local students Kelly Bieber, Emma Gates, Lauren Thain and Kim Robson.

The students have earned an associate of applied science degree in nursing from the University of Alaska Anchorage's Petersburg-based distance program.

Instructors and families of the graduates were able to attend the ceremony in person at the Petersburg Lutheran Church's Holy Cross House, while others watched via a Facebook Live stream.

The event started with a welcome from CEO Phil Hofstetter, expressing how proud he is of all of the students. Jennifer Bryner, PMC chief nursing officer, spoke of fellow nurses and her gratitude for current, retired and future nurses.

Ruby Shumway, RN and local UAA adjunct instructor for the program, led the pinning of each individual student. Finally, Nichole Mattingly, RN and UAA adjunct, led the graduates and all nurses present in reciting the nurses' pledge of ethics.

All four of the graduates intend to apply for nursing positions at PMC after completing the state board exam. All received scholarship support from PMC Foundation and will work for a period of time to "pay back" the scholarship funds.
Lauren Thain, Emma Gates, Kim Robson and Kelly Bieber.
Kelly Zweifel, clinic manager, checks blood pressure for Elise Kubo, RN, as part of a biometric screening.
Wellness program inspires PMC staff to make healthy choices
Petersburg Medical Center's Employee Wellness Program aims to promote a healthy, productive workforce and contribute to making PMC a great place to work. PMC has partnered with third-party vendor Bravo Wellness to develop a successful employee wellness program. 

Bravo offers many resources to employees including online courses, recipes, challenges, and health coaching through a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic. 

This year’s Wellness Incentive Program offered a discount on the PMC insurance plan to employees who participate in an online health assessment and a biometric screening or health coaching program.
There are 57 PMC employees participating in the program!
Helping PMC patients and keeping up with her dad inspire Meg Litster
Resolving billing and insurance-related issues for patients is what makes working at Petersburg Medical Center so rewarding for Megan Litster.

Meg has been PMC’s registration coordinator and patient financial representative since 2018.

“I love interacting with patients, especially when they are stressed or concerned about something and we’re able to solve a problem,” Meg said. “The feeling that they walk away from an interaction feeling validated and that their questions are answered is really great.” 

Meg joined PMC in 2016 as a ward clerk. After a year she transitioned to working as needed so she could be more available for her kids. But she missed PMC and returned in 2018.

“I like the feeling that I am working for an organization that’s end goal is service to others,” she said. 

In her current job, Meg supports all PMC registration staff by answering questions, offering additional training, and stepping in to help when needed. She audits patient charts to ensure there are no registration errors and to look for error trends. She also works on insurance authorization and eligibility. 

“My previous career was in social services and I really thought this would be different,” Meg said. “But there are a lot of similar components.”

Meg and her husband Cody moved to Petersburg in 2010. Both were raised in Oregon and went to high schools roughly 11 miles from each other. They were acquaintances but never friends until years later when they met again in Alaska. Meg had moved to Anchorage after graduating from the University of Oregon and was reconnected with Cody, who had been working at Denali National Park.

The couple recently celebrated 17 years of marriage. They have four children: Wyatt, Isaac, Ruby and Evelynn. The family loves outdoor adventures, including hiking and boating. In the last few years, Meg has also found a passion for running. 

She found that passion during a year of training to climb Mount Everest with her dad Greg, who lives in Eugene, Oregon. Greg, 71 at the time, had become an adventurer at age 60 with a long bucket list. Determined not to hold her dad back on the expedition, Meg spent a lot of time on her stair climber, hiked Ravens Roosts with a pack at least weekly, and took up running.

In Nepal, the father-daughter duo hiked 42 miles in ten days, taking time to acclimate to the elevation. At 15,200 feet, however, altitude sickness forced them to turn around just a few miles short of base camp, which had been their goal. 

“We would do it again,” Meg said. They’re now cooking up plans to complete the Mont Blanc/Matterhorn trek in Europe. Meanwhile, her father has whitewater kayaked all over South and Central America and has taken up ultra-marathon running.
▲ The Litster family. From left: Meg, Wyatt, Isaac, Ruby, Evelyn and Cody.
▲ Cody and Meg.
▲ Meg and her dad Greg in Nepal.
▲ Jill and her family, Rick, Brooklyn and Lucas.
▲ The Dormer Family.
New position to help PMC optimize use of information technology
Petersburg Medical Center has hired Jill Dormer to fill the new position of chief information officer.

"PMC has grown, particularly in the last year, in our reliance on telehealth, videoconferencing, computer upgrades and the new implementation of electronic medical records,” explained Phil Hofstetter, PMC’s chief executive officer. “As a result, a CIO position was created.”

Jill will collaborate with PMC leadership to head up strategic development of technology at PMC.

It’s a role she’s been preparing for since high school.

“I have always been drawn to technology, even at a young age,” Jill said. “In high school and college, I enrolled in as many business technology courses as I could fit into my schedule. At the time, it didn’t seem possible that this would lead to a career path. I just knew I enjoyed them.” 

Throughout her professional life, Jill found herself becoming the person fellow employees turned to for computer help. At PMC, she grew to love working in healthcare information technology (IT) and became the lead trainer teaching staff to use the electronic medical records (EMR) system. She eventually became PMC’s informatics director, designing systems to collect, manage and analyze data with the goal of improving patient care.

As CIO, Jill will manage PMC’s IT staff and be responsible for upholding standards, processes, security, and policies.

“I am excited for the challenge of the CIO role,” Jill said. “PMC is fortunate to have an energetic IT team. I look forward to growing our department and adding systems that will enhance both the provider and patient experience.”
LTC residents enjoy visitors and Mayfest as COVID recedes
The month of May has brought a plethora of exciting changes to PMC's Long Term Care. Most notably, under the guidance of national, state, and local officials, LTC has begun to see the return of family, friends, and past volunteers. After over a year of adaptations to protect residents from the global COVID pandemic, LTC staff and residents are glimpsing normal once again.

The prospect of a future without COVID is not all LTC has had to celebrate. Cinco De Mayo, Mother's Day, two birthdays, and Mayfest have brightened spirits all around. 
Mayfest 2021 was an exciting milestone for our LTC residents. For the first time in over a year they had the opportunity to venture downtown. Many thoroughly enjoyed the festivities despite adverse weather conditions. Seeing friends, family, and familiar faces was exciting and almost unbelievable for our residents. Vikings and Valkyries were able to once again parade the halls of the facility.

The festivities also brought traditional Norwegian music back to the halls of LTC, thanks to accordion duo Judi Smith and Amanda Balcom. ​Enjoying the food, music, and festivities of Little Norway was brightness needed after a dark and wet year.
▲ Carol Wallace, LTC resident, with visitors Kaylee Smith and baby Odin.
▲ Ray Olsen, LTC resident, with Alice Neidiffer, LTC's new activities coordinator.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | [email protected]