Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ Tony Vinson, medical assistant, and Traci Vinson, RN, were part of the team vaccinating patients at PMC's recent COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
PMC staffers from across the organization were happy to be able to see each other's faces, if only on a Zoom screen and with many still masked, at the first Employee Forum since the start of the pandemic.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Spring has sprung in Petersburg!
Employee Forums resume after a year, adapted for pandemic
EMPLOYEE FORUM: PMC staff gathered via Zoom on Tuesday, April 20, for our first Employee Forum since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last March. Our morning session drew 50 employees, and 23 attended the afternoon session. Since forums were held each quarter in the past to keep staff up to date on happenings across PMC, there was much to catch employees up on. Some of the topics covered included vaccine education and goals, HIPAA review, and a review and update of the past year’s challenges and the obstacles our staff have overcome. It’s been a challenging year, and it’s encouraging to have these staff gatherings back up and running.

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. 

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: 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/

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
NuStep exercise machine helps keep LTC residents moving
Petersburg Medical Center received a grant from the Alaska Community Foundation CaresAct Funding. A small piece of the grant was used to purchase a NuStep T6Max recumbent trainer for use by Long Term Care residents.

This piece of exercise equipment, now in the LTC solarium, provides great benefits for residents by doing the following:
  • Improves activity level
  • Improves functional strength
  • Improves quality of life
  • Decreased pain
  • Promotes movement and weight management
  • Decreases risk for falling

The NuStep has been getting lots of use and was purchased after requests from residents to use the rehab gym over the past four months to help reduce pain and improve function.
Marie Moore, LTC resident, takes a spin on the NuStep exercise machine while enjoying a view of the outdoors.
▲ Julie Hursey, medical assistant, and Traci Vinson, RN, try out one of the new PAPR units.
PMC staff protected with updated PAPRs
Thanks to COVID-19 funding from the State of Alaska Hospital Preparedness Program, Petersburg Medical Center has been able to purchase five new PAPRs (Powered Air Purifying Respirators). 

PAPRs are respirators that protect the user from respiratory hazards by filtering out contaminants in the air and using a battery-operated blower to provide the user with clean air through a loose-fitting hood. 

PMC’s current PAPRs are outdated and no longer being manufactured, which will soon make it difficult to get replacement batteries and filters. Hands-on training with the new units was conducted in March. The new units will provide staff with significant improvements in the weight, comfort and noise level when wearing a PAPR. 
Pandemic upends plans, keeping Noah Sullivan home for work and college
Noah Sullivan was hired at Petersburg Medical Center in June of 2020 on an emergency basis to work at the emergency room’s COVID screening station.

It was supposed to be just a summer job. Noah had just graduated from Petersburg High School with plans to head to Los Angeles in the fall to study political science at Occidental University.

“It was disappointing to get my diploma during COVID-19, but it was a difficult time for everybody else too,” Noah said.

But the challenges, like the pandemic, continued. Noah did not leave for Los Angeles in the fall. Instead, he transitioned to PMC’s Information Technology team, working part time while taking distance courses from Occidental.

In his current job, Noah responds to PMC staff requests for help with computer, network, and other technology issues. He’s also helping the rest of the IT team with current projects.

“I love being able to help people,” Noah said.

He is happy he can get up and move from his desk to set up new PCs and monitors or help prepare for vaccination clinics. Still fairly new to his job, he doesn’t always know how to resolve issues but is learning new skills each day.

When Noah isn’t working or focusing on school, he enjoys film photography, listening to music and driving out the road. His favorite spot out the road is Twin Creeks.

This was his least favorite spot, however, when he was on the high school cross country team. The long, mostly-uphill route under a hot September sun, with the coaches driving along to dispense water, made the run feel like a marathon. Still, there were always rewards at the end: a beautiful view, recovering with chocolate milk during the van ride back to town, a sense of having completed a real workout.

Noah started cross country in middle school and kept at it throughout high school. The long runs offered a good balance and off-training for his track and field seasons, during which he participated in long jump and shorter running events. Noah really enjoyed being a part of the cross-country team and their many trips around southeast Alaska.

“I qualified for the state competition my sophomore year and again my senior year,” he said. “The state competition was my final school and athletic trip—because of COVID-19.”
▲ From left: Noah Sullivan and friends Jolyn Toyamura, Miranda Nilsen, Sawyer Bryner, and Kianna Kivisto at Petersburg High School's 2020 graduation.
▲ Noah out fishing.
▲ Noah with friends Jolyn Toyamura (left) and Miranda Nilsen.
▲ Sarah Wright (left) and Rocio Tejera-Elejabeitia (right) with visiting consultant Cynthia Brandt at the office—prior to COVID. Brandt currently meets with the Fiscal Department via Zoom.
Fiscal Department looks after PMC's financial health
While Petersburg Medical Center doctors, nurses and other providers are busy caring for the health of the community, some PMC staff look after the health of the organization itself.

Three such employees make up PMC’s Fiscal Department. Their focus is PMC’s budget, long-range planning, financial strategy and investments, and careful management and tracking of funds going in and out.

Controller: Rocio Tejera-Elejabeitia 
Rocio works to ensure that PMC is fiscally responsible, following all state and federal regulations and requirements. She guides PMC’s finances, budget, business philosophy and objectives. Her job includes developing financial strategy, high-level financial reporting and analysis, managing cash flow, providing investment advice, and taking part in payroll processing. She also oversees the work of others in the department. 

Accountant: Sarah Wright
Sarah handles accounting processes for PMC, documenting funds received and funds paid out, billing for services, and reconciling the books and bank accounts. She also helps with filing tax reports, preparing budgets, and documenting audits. 

Accounts payable clerk: Michelle Rumple
Michelle, the newest addition to the financial team, is currently training to help with accounting procedures. Some of these tasks include paying invoices, making sure expenses are charged to the right departments, reimbursing employees based on expense reports, cutting checks, and documenting account transactions.

Handling all these tasks accurately, on time, and in line with legal requirements are key to keeping PMC up and running!
Music, crafts and an Easter egg hunt brighten April at LTC
April started out gloomy and snowy, but PMC Long Term Care residents are thrilled to be ending the month with some sunshine and spring in the air.

The residents enjoyed lots of arts and crafts activities while waiting for the sunshine to appear. Some of the favorites were creating a pompom craft and coloring spring pictures.

The residents celebrated Easter with an Easter egg hunt. Myron Lyons, LTC resident, helped staff hide the eggs around the care center for the other residents to find. For lunch, the PMC Dietary staff prepared a wonderful Easter brunch: seasoned spiraled ham, rosemary potatoes, lemon roasted asparagus, deviled eggs, springtime salad and hot cross buns.

Sarah Hofstetter visited to play music in the solarium. Residents joined in by singing, shaking maracas, and listening from afar. The music lifted everyone's spirits and it was great to have Sarah back in the facility. The residents look forward to many more music sessions in the future.
▲ Gabe Torrez, CNA, with Carol Wallace, LTC resident.
▲ Ray Olsen, LTC resident, getting loaded into the center's new van to head out for a drive.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | [email protected]