Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
Donald Spigelmyre, Martin Odegaard and an Icicle Seafoods crew set up and is allowing the hospital to use their tent as a drive-through screening station at PMC.

▲ PMC's 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline number, is 907-772-5788
▲ With so many staff members working from home due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, PMC is now using Zoom to hold video call meetings. This screen shows Kelsey Lambe, public relations manager; Phil Hofstetter, CEO; and Liz Bacom, infection prevention and quality manager.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: PMC staff setting up and stocking supplies at the new drive-through screening tent. From left: Elizabeth Poole, nurse practitioner; Jenna Olsen, clinic manager; and Melva Randrup, materials manager.
PMC responds to threat from COVID-19
COVID-19 READINESS: On March 12, we activated Petersburg Medical Center’s Emergency Preparedness Incident Command system in response to the announcement of Alaska’s first COVID-19 case. We began screening all staff, patients and visitors for COVID-19 symptoms. 

Since then, we’ve continued to take measures to ensure the safety of our staff, share information with the community, and prepare for patients.

On March 23, we directed all non-essential staff to start working from home. About 20 percent of our staff now work from home. No visitors are allowed at the hospital. 

On April 5, Petersburg received a positive test result for COVID-19. The individual had traveled to the Lower 48, returned to Petersburg in mid-March, and took all necessary precautions to stay home and isolate. The individual continues to follow isolation guidelines and is improving.

COVID-19 TESTING AVAILABLE: A COVID-19 drive-through testing station is located in PMC’s front business office parking lot. Thank you to Icicle Seafoods for lending their tent, and thank you to Donald Spigelmyre, Martin Odegaard, and the Icicle crew for setting up the tent on March 24.

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: We are sharing frequent COVID-19 updates with the community.
  • Tune in to KFSK Monday-Friday at 12:30pm for COVID-19 information. Jennifer Bryner, PMC's chief nursing officer; Laurie Miller, Lab manager; Jenna Olsen, clinic manager; Liz Bacom, Infection prevention and Quality; and I are providing the updates along with representatives from other community entities such as the school district, borough and public health nursing.
  • We provide the latest hospital updates on our Facebook page: 
  • Check our website for updates as well:

HEALTH FAIR 2020 CANCELED: If you participated in blood draws in March and planned to pick up your results at the Health Fair, your results have been mailed to you. If you haven’t received your results in the mail, you can find them in your patient portal.

Stay home, stay safe!

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
College student brings joy to elders in time of social distancing
Alice Neidiffer was home in Petersburg for spring break when she learned that her college courses would be offered by distance technology for the rest of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With access to student housing restricted, the University of Utah junior chose to stay home to continue working on her political science major.

Alice has managed to keep herself distracted during this time of social distancing by focusing on schoolwork and projects around her Fiances house. But she began to worry about others in the community.

She thought of the residents at Petersburg Medical Center’s Long Term Care center, where her mom, Jackie Neidiffer, works as a certified nurse assistant.

“I know that the residents cannot have visitors at this time, and from the times that I have been up there, I have witnessed the joy that visitors can bring them,” Alice said.

She also thought of the kids she works with every summer at camps put on by Petersburg Parks and Recreation.

So, Alice decided to take social distancing as something to embrace by asking parents to record their kids reading their favorite short stories.

She collected the recordings, combined them, and sent the hour of readings to LTC’s Activities Department.

“We live in a digital age, so why not harvest it?” Alice said of her idea. “Social interactions don’t have to be completely curtailed just because we need distance right now. By compiling the audio recordings I have received, my hopes are that they can temporarily fill the void of regular visitors for the residents of LTC.

“Nothing beats a smiling face, but hearing these kids read sure helps you imagine one,” Alice added. “These kiddos willing to help are filled with joy, and I hope that can spread to the LTC residents.”
▲ Alice Neidiffer at her high school graduation with her mom, Jackie Neidiffer, CNA at PMC Long Term Care.
▲ Take a beautiful walk on the road behind the airport. The area is big enough for plenty of social distancing if you run into other walkers. You could meet up with a friend out there and walk together—at least six feet apart, of course.
With spring coming, it's a great time to enjoy fresh air outdoors
Take advantage of beautiful Southeast Alaska and get some social distancing exercise outdoors!

Just because workout facilities are closed doesn't mean you can't work out anymore.
  • Go for a walk or run
  • Ride your bike
  • Take the kayak out for a paddle

Try online fitness classes!

Petersburg Zumba is offering live Dance-In-Place sessions online! Go to, give them a “like,” and you’ll get notifications of classes.

Live at 10:15am:
  • Monday — Strong
  • Tuesday — Zumba
  • Wednesday — Strong
  • Thursday — Zumba Gold
  • Friday — Zumba Kids
  • Saturday — Zumba
Back home to work at PMC, nurse helping with COVID-19 hotline response
Born and raised in Petersburg, Ruby Shumway always knew that she would be back home someday. She wanted her kids to grow up close to family and wanted to be part of the small community that helped raise her.

The journey home took ten years.

Ruby enrolled at the University of Alaska Anchorage after graduating from Petersburg High School in 2008. She dreamed of someday following in the footsteps of her older sister Mamie, a nurse who had returned to Petersburg to work.

After two years of college, Ruby was accepted into UAA’s School of Nursing. She survived five challenging semesters of nursing school to graduate in December 2012 with a bachelor’s degree. She then started a one-year nursing internship with labor and delivery at Providence Alaska Medical Center. It turned into a full-time job.

“It was my dream job,” Ruby said. “I knew that I’d eventually settle down in Petersburg whenever I started a family, so I wanted to take the opportunity to do O.B. while I could. It was amazing!”

She helped deliver babies, assessed newborns, taught new moms how to breastfeed their babies, and sometimes assisted with Caesarian sections.

Ruby eventually gave birth to her own son in that same unit, surrounded by people she worked with every day and some of her best friends.

“It was a special experience,” she said. “I go visit every chance I get when I’m in Anchorage.”

Ruby her husband Tim and their son Fitz moved from Anchorage to Petersburg in December 2017. Ruby started as a nurse at Petersburg Medical Center in January 2018.

Coming from six years in her dream career, Ruby was nervous about her new job. She knew it would be different from what she was used to—but what she didn’t realize was how much she would enjoy it. She works with acute care patients, extended care patients, and the emergency room. She sometimes also works with Long Term Care residents.

Now she’s missing her work routines with PMC patients. When COVID-19 hit, Ruby made the hard decision to step away from the floor and work from home. A type 1 diabetic with dreams of growing her family, she knew her health problems would put her at high risk if she were to contract COVID-19.

Working from home, Ruby is taking shifts answering PMC’s COVID-19 Hotline phone. She answers questions, helps determine whether callers need testing, and assists with case management.

“I was feeling down about having to leave the bedside for a couple days, but I have really loved the time I have spent on the Hotline,” Ruby said. “I’m continuously learning, and I am playing a key role in helping protect our community. It is amazing that I can do this from the safety of my home, and that PMC has been so supportive in my decision to do so.”

Like many other Petersburg residents, Ruby is thankful that many of her favorite activities mesh well with social distancing.

“I love to spend time with my family,” she said. “We are outside as much as possible—hiking, fishing, skiing. And when I’m relaxing at home, I enjoy being in the kitchen cooking and baking.”
▲ Ruby and her son Fitz on one of their boating adventures.

▲ Ruby after some king salmon fishing.

▲ Ruby, husband Tim, and their son Fitz on a hike.
▲ Janet, Tammy, Belinda and Abi standing among some of PMC's many patient medical record files.

▲ From left: Belinda, Janet and Tammy at the PMC longevity celebration in February.
Team ensures PMC patient records are accurate and secure
While doctors, nurses and other health care professionals at Petersburg Medical Center take care of you, the Health Information team at PMC takes care of your medical data.

Your medical record includes your health history, physical exam information, lab results, x-rays, clinical information, notes, and many other details important to ensuring that providers understand your health status and past care. 

The Health Information department is responsible for keeping your records private and secure. The department also codes patient conditions and treatments according to international classification systems. The codes are used for everything from processing health insurance claims to tracking disease epidemics to compiling worldwide mortality statistics.

PMC's Health Information team includes: 
  • Janet, health information manager
  • Tammy, chart analyst and coder
  • Belinda, clinic health information management lead
  • Abi, clinic medical records
  • Kim, clinic medical records

These staff wear lots of hats and help each other constantly. Some of their job duties include:
  • Following complex international guidelines for coding clinic charts;
  • Communicating with PMC’s Business Office and with TruBridge, PMC's billing company, for coding and reimbursement issues;
  • Reviewing clinic, emergency room, and inpatient charts for completeness and letting providers know if there are problems;
  • Handling medical records requests, ensuring all necessary forms have been completed and are on file;
  • Locating requested information in electronic and paper health records;
  • Requesting records as needed from other healthcare facilities to aid in patient care; and
  • Staying current with state and federal regulations pertaining to medical records.
Reach LTC residents by email and social media during COVID-19 closure
The weather is warming up and residents at Long Term Care are getting excited about spring. The sky has been clear and blue during our weekly van rides. Residents have been going on walks and basking in sunshine on the porch. Everyone is looking forward to picnic season just around the corner. 

But things have been different since the week of March 16, when we closed our doors to visitors as part of efforts to keep residents safe from COVID-19.

We were able to welcome guests early in March for our men’s coffee (women welcome!), during which the residents enjoyed good coffee, pastries, and conversation. On March 8 we hosted our annual International Women’s Day Tea, complete with fancy tea set, lemon-poppyseed and bacon-and-chive scones, and lavender-lemon cookies. 

On March 17, residents watched the St. Patrick’s Day parade from the windows of LTC. It lifted everyone’s spirits to hear the bagpipes and see so many smiling people waving from below.

Resident activities continue at LTC but without visitors and volunteers. We miss our volunteers and are grateful for everyone who has helped make Long Term Care a happy home with their time and generosity.

Friends, family, and volunteers can still connect with residents by sending emails to or Feel free to attach photos or letters. You can also share the love with LTC residents by posting your greetings on social media with the hashtag #love2psgLTC! 

We continue to look for ways to connect. We believe that through everyone’s teamwork the community can support one another through these challenging times.
▲ Annie Lewis, LTC resident, enjoying some scones at the International Women's Day Tea.

▲ Marie Moore, LTC resident, and Grace Bieber, LTC activities assistant, headed out for a walk.

Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 |