Functional Medicine Specialist to Present on Hypothyroidism

Rob Downey, MD, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Director of South Peninsula Hospital Functional Medicine Clinic, will discuss hypothyroidism at a community presentation on Wednesday, January 30 from 6-7pm. The presentation will address the factors that affect your thyroid function and lifestyle behaviors for optimal thyroid health.

The event takes place at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College at 202 Pioneer Hall, 533 E Pioneer Avenue in Homer. It is free and open to the public.

Please contact the hospital’s Functional Medicine Clinic at (907) 435-3070 for more information.

Welcome Baby Sequoia Snow; First Baby born at South Peninsula Hospital in 2019!

Sequoia Snow Bettinger was born January 1st, 2019 at 8:00am. She weighed 9 pounds, 3 oz and was 21.5 inches long. Her parents are Allyse and Owen Bettinger.  Sequoia was caught by dad and Dana Whittaker, Certified Nurse Midwife from Homer Medical Center.

Big brother Juneau, mom Allyse and dad Owen welcome baby Sequoia and dozens of gifts!

Ulmer’s:  Breastfeeding supplies, baby toy, baby bathing items, sleeper and other baby goodies.
Homer Shore Store:  Baby first puzzle, teething toy, storage pouch
The Other Book Club: Baby books
Alaska Flower Mill:  New Year’s Baby flower bouquet
Café Cups: $50 gift card
Funny River Quilters:  Baby Quilt
Spenard Builders Supply:  Many items including trashcan, LED lantern and batteries, cleaning supplies, safety drawer and appliance latches and indoor/outdoor thermometer.
The Grog Shop:  A bottle of champagne
The Homer Bookstore:  $25 gift certificate
Sprout Family Services:   Gifts including 2 dvds, receiving blanket, punch card and books
Oodalolly:  True swaddle blanket
Homer’s Jeans:  Smartwool socks and Carhart Overalls
Scott’s Pharmacy:  Shower pouf, candle, shampoo, and bubble bath
SPH Auxiliary:  Several wrapped gifts
Flying Whale Coffee and Gifts:  Teddy bear, booties, hat, toy, child safety lock set, bath set for mom
Captain’s Toy Chest:  Snuggle baby cuddle
Homer Theatre:  Movie, popcorn, and drink passes

Read the Homer News article.

Free Diabetes Screening

Happy New Year From Homer Medical Center!

Homer Medical is helping you start the year off well with a free Diabetes Screening for patients without current diabetes diagnosis.

This includes:

  • Point of Care diabetes screening blood test (HbA1C)
  • 30 minute visit with PeggyEllen Kleinleder, RN, Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator
  • Consult to review the test results
  • Diabetes education on healthy eating for prediabetes, diabetes and diabetes prevention
  • Blood pressure check
  • Free take-home materials.

Daytime and evening appointments are available! Call 235-8586. And don’t delay, as this offer is good only for the month of January. It is free, and no insurance is required.

Walk with a Doc! Seasonal Affective Disorder – what it is and ways to cope, with Bobbi Cleary, MSCP, LPC

Join South Peninsula Hospital and Homer private practice counselor Bobbi Cleary, MSCP, LPC at SPARC (600 Sterling Hwy next to Homer Middle School) for our next “Walk with a Doc”! All are welcome Saturday, January 19th from 9:00 am-10:00 am for Bobbi’s brief talk on Seasonal Affective Disorder – what it is and ways to cope with it and spend the rest of the hour walking at your own pace, chatting & asking any questions. This is a free event, open to all ages and abilities! There is parking up at the SPARC and down below in the Homer Middle School Parking lot. Find out more on Facebook or our page on the Walk with a Doc National website!

Walk with a Doc is a nationwide walking program for everyone interested in taking steps for a healthier lifestyle. What better way to start your weekend than on your feet making strides to help your heart and improving your general health to live longer! While you walk at your own pace, you’ll have the opportunity to have questions answered by local physicians.

There will be free blood pressure screenings, prizes, and refreshments!

Please bring clean indoor walking shoes.

Upcoming walk: February 2nd with SPH Physical Therapist Kristen Rubio, DPT on exercise & chronic pain.

Email, or call the SPH Health & Wellness Department at (907) 235-0970 with questions or for more information!

SPH Home Health Named to the National Elite List

South Peninsula Hospital Home Health Department was named a Top Agency in the 2018 HomeCare Elite recognition list of top-performing home health agencies in the United States. SPH Home Health was listed in the top 25 percent of the nearly 9,000 agencies considered.

HomeCare Elite agencies are determined by an analysis of performance measures in quality of care, quality improvement, best practices implementation, patient experience (HHCAHPS), and financial management. In order to be considered, an agency must be Medicare-certified and have data for at least three outcomes in Home Health Compare. Out of 8,898 agencies considered, SPH was one of the 2,223 recognized in the top 25%, and only one of two named in the state of Alaska.

HomeCare Elite has annually identified the top 25 percent of Medicare-certified agencies for 13 years. The ranking is developed by ABILITY® Network, a leading information technology company helping providers and payers simplify the administrative and clinical complexities of healthcare.  Click here for more information on the designation.  More information on SPH Home Health Services can be found online here or by calling the Home Health office at (907) 235-0369.

Staff of the Home Health Department pictured left to right: Jennifer Disney, PT, Jennifer Nevak, Ivy Stuart, RN, Serena Osborne, Sheila Maupin, RN, Marissa Frank, RN, Suzi Pullin, CNA, Nancy Sawyer, Brian Burns, RN, Matt Byrd, RN.
Not Pictured: Sarah Bollwit, OT and Polly Gordeev, CNA.

Safe Sitter Course – January 4th

The next Safe Sitter Course is scheduled for Friday, January 4th from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm at South Peninsula Hospital. Registration is required by January 2nd – to register, please contact South Peninsula Hospital Health & Wellness at or by calling (907) 235-0970.

Safe Sitter is for students in grades 6-8 to learn skills to be safe when they’re home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. We will practice infant and child choking rescue, as well as infant and child CPR in addition to the other safety skills, first aid, life & business skills and child care skills.

The program fee is $50 per student, with scholarships available upon request. Click the link below to download and print the full informational flyer:

Safe Sitter January 2019

South Peninsula Hospital welcomes new oncologist

South Peninsula Hospital welcomes Darren Mullins, MD, Board Certified in Medical Oncology and Internal Medicine to their medical staff.

Dr. Mullins received his undergraduate degree in 1987 from the University of Alabama where he also completed medical school. Dr. Mullins completed the Internal Medicine Residency at the University Of Tennessee College Of Medicine in 1994 and went on to complete his Medical Oncology Fellowship training at the University Of Virginia Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Mullins started and managed a practice in South Carolina 14 years, and was part of two of the largest oncology practices in the country. Dr. Mullins and his wife relocated to the Kenai Peninsula last year seeking a smaller community environment.

He will be seeing oncology patient twice monthly on Fridays at South Peninsula Hospital’s Infusion Clinic. Upcoming dates are Oct. 5 and Oct 19; Nov. 2 and 16 and Dec. 7 and 28

To schedule an appointment, call 907-714-4490. For additional information or assistance call the South Peninsula Hospital Infusion Clinic at 235-0201.

Congratulations Hal Smith, MD

After 32 years of practicing emergency medicine in Homer, Harold “Hal” Smith, MD, retired in September from South Peninsula Hospital.

During most of his time at SPH he served as the Medical Director of the hospital’s Emergency Department, serving as the champion for systems development, recruitment and advancing practices.  Examples of recent improvements was supporting the tele-connection to Kachemak Emergency Services ambulances for in-field connection to patient vitals and health data to better prepare the emergency department for their arrival, and the adoption of tele-stroke, web-based telemedicine which allows a consulting neurologist to get their eyes on a patient within minutes of their arrival to the Emergency Room.

During his tenure he was also active in overall hospital improvements, serving at times as Chief of Staff, as member of the Medical Executive Committee, on the hospital expansion committee and numerous advocacy efforts on behalf of advancing healthcare for the community.

Smith attended medical school at the University of Indianapolis and did his residency at the University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City. He practiced for five years in the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City before moving to Alaska and joining the medical staff at South Peninsula Hospital.  He also provided ER coverage at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna during some of his career in Alaska. He is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine.

Hal’s service was honored at an employee event at the hospital. He plans to spend more time fishing in retirement.

Upcoming Safe Sitter – Two Half Days! June 28th & 29th

The next Safe Sitter course is scheduled for June 28th & 29th at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm on both days. Students must attend both days to complete the program. The program free is $50. Please contact (907) 235-0970 or to register!

Safe Sitter is designed to prepare students in grades 6-8 to be safe when they’re home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. This instructor-led class is filled with fun games and role-playing exercises. Students even get to use manikins to practice rescue skills like choking rescue and CPR!

Learn more at

Thank you, Homer! Community Walking Challenge Results:

More than 90 million steps taken in community-wide steps challenge

Over $3,000 in cash and merchandise prizes were awarded to winners in the 1st annual community wide steps challenge at the event-wrap up party on Saturday, June 2 at the Homer Farmers Market.

The City of Homer retained team bragging rights, ending the month long challenge with 349,443 total steps taken. The City won last year’s challenge, which was an invitational among four local agencies, and took the trophy in this year’s expanded event among 18 total teams.

435 participants enrolled in the event, taking a grand total of 90,214,266 steps in the month of May.

Above and Beyond Stepper award of $500 went to Christopher Stillford, for walking 2,311,539 steps. The High Stepper Award of $500 went to Deb Anderson for walking 1,184,334 steps. The Grand Prize, $500 donated by the SPH Foundation, was a random drawing prize of the 128 participants who exceeded 300,000 total steps. Tara Hammond won with 1,116,519 steps.  2nd Place, $250 donated by Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware, was a warded to Teresa Sundmark by random drawing out of 42 participants stepping 250,00 – 299,999. 3rd place, $100, went to Alexis E., drawn out of 35 participants stepping 200,000 and 249,999.  Weekly prizes were awarded to high steppers in various categories.

The community wide steps challenge is organized by the SPH Health and Wellness department, in cooperation with wellness representatives from The Center, SVT Health and Wellness, the City of Homer, and SPARC. It was made possible by generous donations from these and other local businesses, and a $500 grant from South Peninsula Hospital Foundation, a non-profit charitable institution dedicated to the welfare of the people of the southern Kenai Peninsula and supporting the healthcare mission of South Peninsula Hospital.

See the Homer Steps Up! 2018 Page for a complete list of winners, prizes and donors.