Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ The PMC Hospital Board attended training via Zoom with Lauri Wolf, CEO of the Foraker Group. Topics included leadership in times of crisis, sustainability, and more.
▲ Mom and daughter: Lauren Thain, ward clerk, and her mother, Jennifer Bryner, chief nursing officer, are masked up and on the job at PMC.
▲ PMC staffers Belinda Chase, clinic health information management lead, and daughter Melanie Chase, LTC high surface cleaner, wore masks while delivering May Day baskets to friends around town.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Many PMC employees have been spending time outdoors fishing. Devynn Johnson, project manager, caught this bucket of fish.
Continuing to provide excellent care in challenging times
PHYSICIAN VIRTUAL LUNCHEON: PMC holds a monthly physician luncheon. This month the luncheon was held on Monday, July 27, via Zoom. Dr. Selina Burt, Dr. Jennifer Hyer, Dr. Mark Tuccillo and Dr. Kayla Luhrs attended along with Hospital Vice President George Doyle and me. The luncheons were established in April of last year as way to touch base with one another, talk about concerns, and collaborate on ideas.

SURVEY: On Tuesday, July 14, state regulatory surveyors arrived at PMC unannounced to conduct a review of Long Term Care, as well as a review of the hospital sparked by a complaint. The surveyors were at our facility for about four days. Their LTC survey focused on COVID-19 infection prevention and found no deficiencies. A debriefing on preliminary results of the hospital survey indicated there was one minor finding; the survey was otherwise clean. Our staff did an incredible job working with the survey team, especially considering the complications of undergoing a survey during the current pandemic.  

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: https://www.facebook.com/petersburgmedicalcenter/ 
  • Check the COVID-19 Information Hub website, our unified command page with the Borough: https://www.psgcovidinfo.net/
  • Check our website for updates as well: https://www.pmcak.org/

CONDOLENCES: I want to send my condolences to the families, friends and community for the loss endured the last week of July. I was very impressed with the PMC staff, EMS personnel, police, troopers and borough officials for the quick response. Thank you to all who were able to step up and help in anyway.

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
New pharmacy room nearing completion
PMC's new pharmacy room was on track to be completed by Febraury 2020—until COVID-19 and related restrictions caused some delays in the construction project. PMC staff did a walk-through of the project area the last week of July to finalize the list of work left to be completed. PMC is waiting on some items to arrive, and then the project should be done by mid-August.

The new pharmacy room will bring PMC into compliance with new federal standards for handling hazardous drugs. 

The project cost $352,973, plus an additional $7,450 to get the new space operational. PMC was approved for Rasmuson Tier 1 funding of $100,000 to offset some project costs.
▲ What will the new pharmacy room look like? We'll share photos after the project is completed in August!
▲ PMC CEO Phil Hofstetter and his wife, Sarah Hanson Hofstetter, showed gratitude to Icicle Seafoods' Petersburg Fisheries (PFI) workers by putting on a performance in the PFI courtyard. PFI workers are required to stay on their campus to help keep the community safe.
Gratitude challenge sparks healthy activities
The end of July marked the end of our fourth monthly Community Healthy Series event, The Gratitude Challenge.

We encouraged the Petersburg Community to three different weekly activities:
  • Week One focused on what you were personally grateful for.
  • Week Two challenged everyone to show gratitude to someone else around them.
  • Week Three was a time for showing ourselves gratitude.

Thank you to all who participated. Follow our Facebook page for announcements about next month’s challenge!
Sticking together, Aikins twins bring health care experience to PMC
From competing on who would be the first born to competing against each other in the Native Youth Olympics, the Aikins brothers’ lives have never lacked a little twin competition.

Steven and Robert Aikins were born within seconds of each other in Clarks Point, a small village 24 miles south of Dillingham. The boys have always stayed close to each other. As adults, this has brought them from working as community health aides in Clarks Point to working as medical assistants at Petersburg Medical Center.

Steven (who, by the way, was born first) and his wife, Danielle, were ready for a change when they decided to visit Petersburg for two weeks in January 2018. They thought the school system was great, fell in love with the town, and moved to Petersburg a few months later, in May. Robert and his wife, Stephanie, followed shortly thereafter, in October 2019.

"I was convinced by my brother with promises of deer hunting, Mayfest and lots of sunny days," Robert said.

Neither twin has undergone formal training as a medical assistant, but both bring valuable job experience to their roles at PMC. Steven worked for Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation in Dillingham as a clinical assistant, which is similar to a medical assistant. From 2016-2018 he worked as a community health aide in Clarks Point. Robert worked as a medical assistant at Kodiak Island Ambulatory Care Clinic in 2009, and also worked as a community health aide at the BBAHC clinic in Clarks Point. Health aides are frontline health care providers in their rural Alaska communities, treating patients under standing orders from doctors, providing emergency care, and handling a wide range of patient care.

The twin brothers have always had similar interests and a drive to have friendly competition against each other. In 2006 the brothers made it to state for the Native Youth Olympics. Steven represented Dillingham. Robert represented Kodiak. They both competed in the final heat for the seal hop event and placed right next to each other.

"For the record, I won," Steven said. Both Steven and Robert competed in 2007 as well.

At work, the twins make an efficient team.

"We think a lot alike so there is a lot of knowing what the other needs without verbally saying it," said Steven.

But there’s a downside to being so alike.

"Being in the same position makes it difficult for us to have the same time off for extended activities," Robert said. The brothers both love the outdoors and enjoy the many trails around Petersburg.

Fun Fact: Steven has a piece missing from his left ear, and Robert has a piece of his right ear missing.
▲Robert and Steven Aikins.
▲ Steven and Danielle with their daughter Kaitlyn.
▲ Robert and Stephanie with their daughter Emma.
▲ PMC's IT Crew: Don Bieber, Jill Dormer and Matt Pawuk.
Information Technology staff keep PMC systems
With a majority of our staff now working from home and all staff meetings becoming virtual, PMC is leaning heavily on our IT staff for extra support during the pandemic.

PMC’s IT Department includes:
  • Jill Dormer, director of Fiscal Services & Informatics
  • Matt Pawuk, Electronic Health Records & Technology Systems lead
  • Don Bieber, Informational Technology

All three employees are trained in and capable of the following:
  • Creating and maintaining user permissions for all PMC staff;
  • Configuring and installing printer hardware, installing and maintaining print sharing devices, and defining network printers on servers;
  • Purchasing new computers and uploading needed software;
  • Helping with set-up and use of teleconference equipment; 
  • Coordinating project tasks with outside vendors;
  • Configuring, installing, troubleshooting and repairing PC hardware (sound cards, modems, CD ROM devices, hard drives, memory, tape backup drives, network adapters, video cards, etc.); 
  • Installing and maintaining Windows operating systems and vendor software updates;
  • Troubleshooting and resolving software problems including custom software configurations.

Don Bieber is responsible for all network and computer-related activities, and uploading of vendor software updates. He also helps maintain special software used in radiology and the laboratory. 

Matt Pawuk leads highly-specialized, integrated, complex information systems analysis to design, test, integrate, and implement electronic health records and telehealth and technology components.

Jill Dormer proactively works with PMC's many departments and programs to ensure that all are using the most appropriate clinical information systems, moving caregivers to best practices as needed.
Virtual travel, classic movies, and gardening are July highlights
Despite the cancelation of Petersburg’s usual Independence Day festivities, quick-thinking staff got residents in the holiday spirit by showing a video of the 2019 July 4th parade from New York City. The residents finger-painted with staff to create a red, white, and blue project for the bulletin board. Activities staff and resident Myron Lyons baked another culinary treat for all: a red, white and blue fruit tart. 

Residents kept in touch with family members and friends via phone and video chat throughout July. Activities staff arranged visits with family members via the solarium and kitchen windows, with conversation happening either by phone or through an open window.

Residents enjoyed sitting on the deck on warm days as safety precautions allowed. They have enjoyed watching their indoor garden grow. The cucumbers are ready to be harvested and the tomatoes are ripening.

Activities staff continued to coordinate baking projects, producing banana-fudge and summer fruit pies as well as no-bake chocolate cookies with help from residents. A pizza party involved residents in rolling out dough and applying their favorite toppings for an afternoon of messy fun, good conversation, and delicious pizzas.

With staff help, residents took turns making virtual Google Earth visits to favorite locations around the world, sharing related stories. They used Google Earth to take a virtual walk around Petersburg and out to Sandy Beach, checking out some of their old neighborhoods along the way. The residents also joined the monthly online Virtual Memory Café offered by the Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska, allowing them to interact with residents at elder care facilities all over the state.

Classic movies have become a comfort for the residents as they adjust to spending more time indoors due to COVID-19 precautions. Residents watched TV shows and movies—including Mary Poppins, West Side Story, the Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof—that they were feeling nostalgic for. Staff also gave back rubs and braided hair to help residents feel comforted and pampered.
▲ Myron Lyons, LTC resident, decorates a fruit tart for 4th of July.
▲ Ray Olsen, LTC resident, creating designs with shapes.
▲ Claudia Hiedy, LTC resident, prepares to open one of her birthday presents.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | pmcweb@pmc-health.org