April Community Newsletter
Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲PMC CEO Phil Hofstetter and Chad Wright, executive assistant, meet with Congressman Don Young.

▲PMC hosted a three-day Medicare boot camp. Employees from eight hospitals around the state attended.

The view from PMC CEO Phil Hofstetter's kayak during his 135-mile paddle to Ketchikan.
 Proposed state budget cuts and PMC
TO KETCHIKAN BY KAYAK! When work commitments caused me to cancel participation in the Iditarod Trail Invitational bike race this winter, I decided to use my vacation to mix a different type of adventure with a mission for Petersburg Medical Center!

On Friday, March 29, I began a 135-mile trip by kayak to Ketchikan with the goal of touring the PeaceHealth facility there and networking with staff to organize regular scope clinics at PMC with their staff.

I knew I needed to reach Ketchikan by Monday so I'd have time to visit PeaceHealth and then catch the Tuesday ferry back to Petersburg.

As I floated into Ketchikan at 1pm on Monday, April 1, I called to reserve a hotel room, then called Matt Eisenhower, PeaceHealth executive director, who picked me up at the dock, got me to my hotel, and agreed to meet with me on Tuesday. After camping and sleeping in damp clothes all weekend, a shower and hotel room were very much appreciated.

I toured PeaceHealth on Tuesday and met with medical staff before leaving on the 1pm ferry, bringing back with me a better understanding of how our relationship with PeaceHealth can improve services to PMC patients.

The kayak trip, by the way, was incredible and beautiful!

MASTERING MEDICARE Petersburg Medical Center hosted a three-day Medicare boot camp led by HCPro the second week of April. Hospitals represented included PMC, South Peninsula Hospital (Homer), SEARHC, Providence Valdez Medical Center, Maniilaq Health Center (Kotzebue), Kanakanak Hospital, Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital (Utqiagvik), and Cordova Medical Center. Participants learned about coding, billing, reimbursement, and how to improve financial processes.

A VISIT FROM DON YOUNG On Tuesday, April 16, Petersburg Mayor Mark Jensen; Mike Boggs, PMC plant operations manager; Chad Wright, executive assistant; and I met with Congressman Don Young here at PMC about the challenges of working in our aging facility and some of our master plan projects.

WELCOME, DR. BURT! Finally, I'd like to give a warm welcome to Dr. Selina Burt, who just joined us from Texas!

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
Home Health retreat builds team bonds to improve outcomes
The Petersburg Medical Center Home Health Department held a retreat for their team on Thursday, April 4.

The team members—which include nurses as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapists—use their expertise to help care for people in their homes.

Nurses on the team assess patients, coordinate personalized home care plans, train caregivers, administer medication, and perform skilled procedures and treatments.

The therapists check the home setting to improve patient safety and independence. They also design and teach home exercise programs to patients and their families with the goal of returning patients to normal living activities after injury or illness.

At the retreat, Tara Burns, occupational therapist, and Baily Koebernick, speech therapist, gave presentations with ideas for how they could improve their work as a team and as individuals. They also played team-building games and discussed challenges and how to overcome them.

The Home Health Team, from left: Marnie Kampe, physical therapist; Bradee Axmaker, physical therapist; Jacque Grone, home health receptionist; Janine Iknokinok, physical therapy receptionist; Tara Burns, occupational therapist; Kaitlin DuRoss, rehabilitation manager; Ellie Van Swearingen, physical therapist; Bailey Koebernick, speech therapist; and Christie Axmaker, home health manager.

Team-building exercises were part of the Home Health Team one-day retreat.
▲Noelle McPherson, afternoon yoga instructor, with PMC employees Helen Boggs, LTC manager, and Elizabeth Hart, skilled nursing coordinator/case manager. Afternoon yoga is part of the PMC health and wellness program.

▲Helen Boggs, LTC manager, and Elizabeth Hart, skilled nursing coordinator/case manager, participate regularly in yoga classes at PMC.
Get ready for summer with fitness activities in the community!
T ake advantage of fitness activities at Parks and Rec!
Flex Fit: Mondays & Thursdays 8:30-9:30am, and Saturdays 10:15-11:15am.

Mitkof Dance Studio offers more then just kids' dance classes. Check it out!
Tuesdays & Wednesdays 9:30-10:30am — Zumba Gold
Tuesdays 12-1pm — Strong
Thursdays 5:30-6:30pm — Zumba
Fridays 8:15-9:15am — Zumba
Fridays 9:30-10:30am — Zumba Gold
Barre: Wednesdays 10:45-11:45am and Saturdays 9-10am
Pilates: Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays 5:45-6:30pm

WAVE wellness classes meet at the Community Center from 10am-1pm the first Saturday of every month.
Saturday, May 4th: Sauna and Face masks.
Lifelong dream of becoming a nurse soon to come true for PMC's Valaree Nilsen
For as long as she can remember, Valaree Nilsen has wanted to be a nurse.

That dream will become a reality this May when Nilsen graduates from the University of Alaska Anchorage's two-year registered nursing program.

Nilsen began her journey toward becoming a nurse back in 2001, when she was hired at Petersburg Medical Center as a certified nurse aide. She has been working in health care ever since.

"I enjoy seeing the patients and I love seeing the good outcome for them." Nilsen said.

Nilsen left Petersburg for Oregon in 2002—but fell in love while visiting home during the holidays and six months later moved back to Petersburg. She was rehired by PMC in December 2004 as a CNA and ward clerk in long term care. In 2010 she moved over to the clinic as a receptionist, and in 2012 she started working as a medical assistant.

In September 2017 Nilsen entered the nursing program, attending class by videoconference and doing clinicals at PMC, but sometimes traveling to Anchorage for more hands-on clinical hours. While it hasn't always been easy juggling a husband, three kids, two cats, school and a job, she has overcome every obstacle thrown her way and is ready to graduate next month.

Nilsen has loved each of her jobs at PMC because all have involved patient care. She is excited to get comfortable in her new role as a nurse in acute care and long term care, and start seeing patients.

She's also looking forward to spending more time with her family.

Instead of late-night study sessions, Nilsen will spend her spare time outdoors with her husband Matt and their kids: Simone, Charlotte and Trygve. They love beach combing, fishing, camping and working on puzzles.

Her kids also look forward to Nilsen's upcoming freedom from homework and exams.

"My mom doesn't like to be disturbed during her testing," piped up Simone, age 9.

"She's the best mommy ever!" added Charlotte, 8.
▲Valarie Nilsen and her husband Matt Nilsen out fishing

▲ Valarie Nilsen's children, Charlotte, Simone and Trygve on their boat headed to ride 4-wheelers.

▲ Petersburg-based UAA nursing students on break. From left: Valaree Nilsen, Carolyn Kvernvik, Adam Axmaker and Audrey Morton. These students will graduate from their two-year program in May!
Adrian Buller, Materials Manager and Melva Randrup, Materials assistant.
The PMC Materials Department warehouse.
Materials staff stock PMC departments, keep supply costs down
The Materials Department at Petersburg Medical Center is responsible for stocking supplies for the entire facility. This is no small job!

The Materials Department staff includes Adrian Buller, manager since 2015, and Melva Randrup, his assistant since 2017.

The department grew much more efficient in 2016 when staff were able to pull their inventory from three separate locations in the hospital into one large, central space. This eliminated the work of moving freight and orders back and forth and trying to keep each room fully stocked. Organizing and unloading are much quicker now, allowing staff to stock individual departments.

Randrup spends most of her time restocking long term care, acute care, and clinic twice a week, and the emergency room once a week. She visits each department to determine what is out of stock and refills the shelves with needed materials.

Buller places all the orders. He carefully does research to find the best products at the lowest prices. If products are back-ordered or completely out of stock, he finds other facilities to buy them from. He also tracks discontinued products in stock that need to be pulled from PMC shelves.

Some small facilities order supplies just once a year because they don't have a materials department. PMC's Materials Department orders supplies weekly, which saves money in many ways. Buller orders only what is needed for a particular week or month, which ensures that items don't expire. If an item is recalled, PMC doesn't lose money because of having a lot of stock on hand.

The department's latest project is completely revamping and restocking inventory in the emergency room. This will benefit providers, nurses and patients alike!
Spring is here!
Long term care residents are enjoying the warmer weather on outings and van/car rides. They have enjoyed several visits from pets and their owners, their monthly baked potato bar with all the fixin's, swim outings, and singing along to old and new songs with performer Sarah Hofstetter.

Resident Council President Dennis Sperl was interviewed over the phone by Kim Champney, a Juneau consultant who is contacting resident councils around the state to collect input as she develops a resident council "toolkit." This toolkit will be used to inform the resident council process in long-term care facilities throughout Alaska.

Residents have greatly enjoyed luncheons generously provided twice each month this winter by volunteers from the Emblem’s and Deacon’s clubs. Residents and staff give a big thank you to Beulah Luhr, Jean Osbourne, Debi McMahon, Joyce Weller and all those involved in the clubs who made these luncheons possible. The luncheons gave residents a much needed change of scenery during months of inclement weather, as well as delicious homemade food and great company!

The residents enjoyed their annual Easter egg dyeing session with help from youth at Petersburg Children's Center. The eggs were used in the community hunt on Easter Sunday.

Residents with green thumbs enjoyed indoor gardening in the solarium on Earth Day. They will end the month with an indoor picnic-themed happy hour, per their request, in anticipation of summer!

The Long term care activities staff, with donations from many local businesses, are preparing for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, scheduled for Saturday, May 4.
▲ Annie Lewis, LTC resident, pets visiting Bella the dog.

▲ LTC resident Richard Lisbourne out for a van ride.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | [email protected]