Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ These three masked men volunteered time at the COVID testing site to monitor each patient for 15 minutes after the patient was vaccinated. They are Ted Sandhofer, USFS, Dave Berg from Petersburg EMS, and Jeff Meucci, Petersburg assembly member.
▲ Cindi Lagoudakis, PMC board member, receiving her COVID-19 vaccine from retired nurse and volunteer Marlene Cushing, who is also a PMC board member.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Beautiful Petersburg, Alaska.
Teamwork takes Petersburg through a year of COVID
A YEAR OF COVID: The one-year mark of COVID has passed. It's been a challenging year for the entire community as we navigated through this ongoing pandemic together. Thank you to the Petersburg businesses and organizations for helping keep this community safe. A big thanks also to the PMC staff for all your hard work over the last year.

NEW BILLING VENDOR: Petersburg Medical Center is pleased to announce its transition to a new billing vendor, Healthcare Resource Group, Inc (HRG), effective March 23. HRG will perform billing-related and follow-up functions for PMC. This change in vendors will improve billing and related services for our patients, clients and organization. Our local Business Office team will continue to provide quality customer service. Questions? Please call 907-772-5730.

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 other 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
Foundation purchases interactive projection system for LTC
The Petersburg Medical Center Foundation board approved $4,250 in 2020 to be used to purchase a Lucynt Interactive Projection System for LTC residents.

The interactive projection/light device is attached to the ceiling over the LTC dining room table and projects onto the table. When a resident places their hand over the table, a light sensor is activated. The system uses state-of-the-art technology to track body movements and gestures. There are several different activities for residents to play, including digital puzzles, air hockey, piano, movement games and many more.

This gives the residents an additional way to exercise their minds, maintain hand-eye coordination, and have fun interacting with one another.
▲LTC resident Marie Moore and CNA Avery Skeek engage with games using the interactive table.
NEW! PMC launches free program to help elders age in place safely at home in their community
Petersburg Medical Center recently launched a new community wellness program called CAPABLE: Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders

CAPABLE is a free program that helps eligible older adults identify and work on goals to help them continue living safely and independently in their own home as long as possible. 

Developed at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, the CAPABLE program includes 10 home visits and takes about five months to complete.

An occupational therapist and nurse work with the participant to decide what they would like to improve on—such as making meals, showering, managing medications, participating in leisure activities or getting around their home. A maintenance manager oversees needed minor home safety modifications such as installing grab bars, railings, or better lighting. 

PMC’s CAPABLE team is integrated with the clinic and works alongside the participant’s regular primary care provider. The team includes Julie Walker, Community Wellness specialist; Kirsten Rioux-Testoni, Home Health nurse manager; Amy Hollis, nurse case manager; Jessica Baker, occupational therapist; and Mike Boggs, maintenance manager. 

Thanks to a state grant, CAPABLE is being offered completely free of charge to eligible seniors. To learn more about the CAPABLE program, please contact Julie Walker, PMC's Community Wellness Specialist & Emergency Preparedness coordinator, at 772-5552.  
From farmer to crabber, Tammy Strickland loves Petersburg and PMC job
Tammy Strickland and her family went from throwing bales of hay in rural Maryland to slinging crab pots in Petersburg when she was 14 years old. Her father had retired from the army and was ready to move back to his hometown.
Transitioning from farm life with extended family to small-town Petersburg was not easy for Tammy and she was happy to leave as soon as high school graduation hit in 1990. She was gone for only a year, however, before moving back, eventually meeting and marrying her husband and starting her own family. Ralph and Tammy now have three grown children: Chellsey, Austin, and Chandler. Her parents, Paul and Darlene Anderson, still live in Petersburg, along with many of her father’s relatives.
“I cannot imagine calling anywhere else home now,” Tammy says.
Tammy, her husband, and grandson Koven set commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear in her time off work. This is something Tammy and her whole family have done for many years. She loves being able to share it with their grandson.
“Now that our kids are adults and on their own, we have loved training the next generation how to fish and live off the land,” Tammy said.
The Stricklands have always been eager for outdoor adventures. They love commercial and sport fishing, camping, hiking, kayaking, biking, growing flowers in their garden and harvesting their own food.
In 2009, Tammy joined the PMC team as a receptionist in the business office and helping with accounts payable. Since then, she has taken on several different roles at PMC. In 2011, she switched over to become the CEO assistant and then transitioned to the clinic as the referral coordinator for a couple of years until a job opened in the Health Information Department in 2015.
Tammy has been working with the Health Information Department ever since.
“I love what I do,” Tammy said. Her job involves compiling, processing, and maintaining medical records, as well as coding medical procedures to ensure that insurers are billed correctly. All of this has to be done in line with administrative and medical requirements, following the complex legal, regulatory, and ethical rules that govern healthcare.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made Tammy’s job and life a lot harder to manage. Tammy began working remotely when the pandemic hit, which created many adjustments and obstacles in her work and home life. She also became a first-grade teacher to her grandson Koven while the schools were shut down. She would wake up at the early hours to get her work done so she could focus on school with Koven later in the day.

Even though COVID has caused some stress in her job, her passion for her work hasn’t changed. She enjoys putting together medical records for continuity of care, coding medical procedures accurately, or querying a physician.
“We are not a team because we work together,” Tammy said. “We are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other—and this really does show here at PMC.”
▲ Tammy, her husband Ralph, son Austin, daughter Chandler, and daughter Chellsey holding grandson Koven.
▲ Ralph, Koven and Tammy on one of their crabbing trips.
▲ Chandler, Ralph, Koven and Tammy on one of their many adventures.
▲ Bessie Johnson
New position keeps specialty clinics on track for patients and providers
It’s not practical for small hospitals to hire full-time specialists in every field of medicine. So Petersburg Medical Center brings some of these services to patients through periodic specialty clinics.

Some of the specialist providers travel to PMC from Juneau, Ketchikan and beyond. Some work with Petersburg patients via telemedicine. And some are onsite PMC staff members who occasionally step away from their day jobs to share their clinical skills—one example is PMC CEO Phil Hofstetter, who offers audiology specialty clinics.

While PMC has offered specialty clinics for many years, the variety of providers has grown. Last year it became clear that PMC needed a coordinator to manage these specialty clinics. Bessie Johnson, who had been working as a medical assistant at PMC’s Joy Janssen Clinic, was hired into the new position in June 2020.

As specialty clinic coordinator, Bessie is responsible for connecting PMC staff, providers and patients with specialists as needed. She ensures that the right staff are available to help out when specialists visit, stepping in with her own medical assistant skills as needed. 

Bessie is also in charge of making sure that patient privacy laws are followed, and that PMC medical records and coding staff are in communication with visiting and telehealth providers.

Other responsibilities of her job include:

  • Managing patient scheduling for visiting, telehealth and onsite specialists;
  • Developing policies and procedures to ensure patient safety, efficient patient flow, standard clinical procedures, and that state and federal regulations are followed;
  • Orienting visiting specialists to PMC after they arrive, and debriefing with them at the end of their visits;
  • Making sure telemedicine follow-up appointments happen.
LTC welcomes back visitors after year of pandemic isolation
Spring is in the air, and with the COVID vaccination rate rising in Petersburg, residents of LTC have more to smile about.

The residents have been staying busy with weekly activities such as reading the newspaper and books, and making art. They have been staying active playing balloon toss, taking indoor walks, and working out on the NuStep bike.

Special treats this month included fresh oatmeal cookies. A favorite activity was making homemade pepperoni pizza with Grace Bieber, activities assistant.

On March 17, the residents celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. The PMC kitchen staff made a festive bundt cake decorated with edible gold coins. The residents were able to watch the parade. Participants were dressed in green and waved large Irish flags. They stopped outside LTC's solarium to play the bagpipes.

The residents ended the month by finally being able to welcome in masked friends and family to visit—in person and indoors—one-on-one, in the solarium. There were many happy reunions, some quite emotional. If you have not had a chance to visit yet, please call to set up a time and to learn about our current visitation procedures.
Marie Moore, LTC resident, working on an art project with Janna Machalek, activities director.
▲Ray Olsen, LTC resident, was excited to visit with his son, Ray Jr., and daughter-in-law, Pam, in the solarium.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 |