Dr. Landess Named Chief of Staff; New board members and officers elected

Christopher Landess, MD, board certified in family medicine and Medical Director of the hospital’s emergency department is the newly elected Chief of Medical Staff, replacing Dr. Giulia Tortora, MD.

South Peninsula Hospital, Inc. Board of Directors welcomes one new director and two returning directors. Long time resident Beth Wythe was appointed in December. Beth served 12 years on the Homer City Council, with four as mayor.  She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and has worked in the Human Resources field for over 30-years.  She currently is the Human Resources and Administrative Services Manager at Homer Electric Association. Beth fills a seat vacated by Lane Chesley, who served on the board for four years, the last three as Treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee.

Tom Clark and Walter Partridge were re-appointed to the board at the same meeting. Their three-year reappointments are through 2022, as is Wythe’s appointment.

Wythe began her term of service at the January board meeting, at which time officers were elected for the coming year. Thomas Clark was elected President; Walter Partridge Vice President, Melissa Jacobsen Secretary, and Matthew Hambrick Treasurer.

The board of directors meets every fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:00pm in the hospital’s conference room. The next meeting is Wednesday, February 26th, and the meetings are open to the public. Updates are made on the calendar on the hospital’s website. Additional information on the board and a current roster is at https://www.sphosp.org/about-sph/board-of-directors/

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Stop the Bleed – Save a Life!

Minutes count! Someone who is severely bleeding can bleed to death in as little as 5 minutes. That’s why bleeding control is the purpose of The American College of Surgeons Stop the Bleed training.

So far, over 30 people in our community have been trained to Stop the Bleed, and over 1  million have been trained worldwide! 

Through a Stop the Bleed course, you’ll gain the ability to recognize life-threatening bleeding and intervene effectively. The person next to a bleeding victim may be the one who’s most likely to save them.

Opportunities to take this free, one-hour class in Homer will be offered regularly in 2020. Dates will be posted here and on community calendars. Add your name to the list to be contacted for the next class by calling 907-235-0285 or emailing wellness@sphosp.org.

Take the course and become empowered to make a life or death difference when a bleeding emergency occurs. Stop the Bleed. Save a Life!

Click here more info about Stop the Bleed.

Click here for the PDF of the Stop the Bleed Booklet!

South Peninsula Hospital welcomes New General Surgeon

South Peninsula Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Jeffrey Larsen, Board Certified General Surgeon, to its Active Medical Staff.

Dr. Larsen attended medical school at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson, Mississippi and completed his general surgical residency at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa and James H. Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City, Tennessee. Since starting his practice in 2001, he has worked at Buchanan General Hospital in Grundy, Virginia and at Stone Crest Medical Center in Smyrna, Tennessee, where he also served as the Trauma Director. Four years ago, eager to experience the natural beauty of Alaska, Dr. Larsen and his wife Tammie moved to Kodiak, working as a General Surgeon and Trauma Director at Providence Medical Center, while also working short assignments at PeaceHealth in Ketchikan and Sitka Community Hospital in Sitka. This fall, they moved to Homer.

Drawn to the great outdoors, the couple has developed a deep appreciation for the northern landscape and is excited to be living on the road system, which will allow them further exploration of the state they now call home. In addition to his passion for his work and time spent with family, Dr. Larsen enjoys hiking, photography, fishing, playing the guitar, tinkering in auto mechanics and the arts. The couple looks forward to getting to know the community.

Dr. Larsen is available for all types of general surgery at South Peninsula Hospital. He is welcoming new patients at the hospital’s general surgery clinic at 4201 Bartlett Street. Appointments can be made at (907) 235-0310.

South Peninsula Hospital welcomes Carol Klamser

South Peninsula Hospital welcomes Carol Klamser, DNP, as a new family practice provider at South Peninsula Hospital. She will begin  her practice in the hospital’s specialty clinic at the same building, 4201 Bartlett Street, on Friday, Nov. 15. Appointments with Carol can be made at 235-0310.

Carol earned her Doctorate in Nursing Practice in Forensics from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis. She has been a nationally certified  Family Nurse Practitioner and certified as a Physician Assistant since 1990 and has expertise in chronic Hepatitis C management and treatment. “We’re excited to have her on the team, to not only offer primary care to her existing and new patients, but to partner with Dr. Ross Tanner, visiting lipidologist, to expand the diabetes specialty care offered by his clinic” said Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson.

In addition to patient care, Carol loves teaching. She taught in the BSN, MSN, and Nurse Practitioner programs at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and has been a tenured Associate Professor in the Associate Degree program since 2010 for the College of Health at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She runs the UAA nursing program at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College which includes didactic and clinical rotations at South Peninsula Hospital.

Carol is a leader in clinic, educational, and consulting areas of forensics. She offers consulting on forensic and medical issues to various attorneys in Alaska. She has served on the Forensic Nurse Certification Board, and currently is elected on the IAFN Nominating Committee and the Education Task Force Committee for the International Association of Forensic Nurses, developing educational guidelines for forensic examiners, which was recently published. She currently serves on the State of Alaska Maternal, Infant, and Child Death Review Committee.

No-Cost Childbirth, Breastfeeding & Newborn Care Classes with Homer Medical Center’s West Wing Clinic Midwives

We offer childbirth, newborn care, and breastfeeding classes free of charge on a rotating basis throughout the year.  These classes are all held on Tuesday Evenings from 5:30pm – 7:30pm in the South Peninsula Hospital Conference Rooms 1 & 2 (park in the lower parking lot and enter through the double doors by the cafeteria).

Click here for dates, topics & more information on the upcoming Winter 2019 Class Series from November 19th through December 17th with Laura Greet, CNM & Julie McCarron, CNM, Certified Lactation Consultant.

You may bring a coach with you to class, you may bring food, and you may come to all, a few or even just one class!

For more information please contact the West Wing Midwives at (907) 435-3040

Walk with a Doc, Saturday November 16th with Dr. Ross Tanner!

Did you miss Know Your Numbers on November 14th? Forgot to ask an important question? Want a friend to learn about what you heard? Join Diabetes & Lipid Clinic of Alaska founder Ross Tanner, DO and South Peninsula Hospital’s Health & Wellness Department at SPARC (600 Sterling Hwy next to Homer Middle School) for our next “Walk with a Doc”! All are welcome Saturday, November 16th from 9:00 am-10:00 am for Dr. Tanner’s brief talk on Know Your Numbers: What your lab results can tell you about your health. Then, spend the rest of the hour walking at your own pace, chatting, and asking any questions!

Walk with a Doc Homer is always free, and 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.

Email wellness@sphosp.org, or call the Health & Wellness Department at (907) 235-0970 with questions or for more information!

Living Well Alaska: Self-Management workshops for adults with ongoing health conditions

The next series of Living Well Alaska workshops for adults with ongoing health conditions and their family or caregivers will be on Wednesday evenings, 4:30pm – 6:30pm from September 18th-October 23rd.  Living Well workshops were developed by Stanford University to focus in a fun, interactive group setting on staying as healthy & active as possible even while living with chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, obesity, and any health condition that requires long term self-management.

The cost for the entire 6-week series is $40, and assistance is available.  Contact PeggyEllen Kleinleder at (907) 235-0311 for more information and to register!  Put the life back in your life!

Measles – Vaccination is the best prevention; call ahead if you have symptoms.

Vaccination with the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine continues to be our best defense to keep measles from spreading. Make sure you and your family are up-to-date with the MMR vaccine – contact your healthcare provider if you or anyone in your family is unsure of their immunization or needs the MMR vaccine.

Anyone can get the MMR vaccine completely free-of-charge at Homer Medical Center during their normal walk-in clinic hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:00 – 8:00PM at 4136 Bartlett Street.

If anyone thinks they might have measles, they should call their health care provider or local public health center immediately. It’s important to get care quickly, but people should call first and not go directly to the doctor’s office, clinic or school.

Measles often starts with a fever (as high as 104° F), cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat. A rash follows that usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has confirmed a single case of measles in a teenager from the Kenai Peninsula. Read the full press release here.

For more information and recommendations on vaccination, prevention and treatment for measles visit the DHSS Measles page here.

View and download this 2-page flyer with information on free vaccination at HMC and other local resources, as well as general measles information.

 

 

Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) Alternative Pain Therapy

Although there are many causes of back pain, one of the more common is facet arthritis. The facet joint provides stability to the vertebral column of the back and the facets in the lower back often develop debilitating back pain. One might experience pain with rising from a sitting position or from riding in a car. Bending forward can cause severe aching.

One of the treatments for this type of back pain is radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which addresses the nerve that transmits the pain.  By stunning this nerve, the pain can be stopped for up to a year, until the nerve regrows back to the facet joint. RFA is a minimally invasive procedure that uses imaging (CT scanner) to help a physician in placing a needle right to the site where the nerve approaches the facet joint. After appropriate numbing, the tip of the needle is inserted and used to heat a small area of the nerve tissue. After 90 seconds, the nerve is stunned and no longer transmits any pain until it regrows. RFA patients experience almost immediate relief and remarkably most do not need a retreatment for at least a year.

It is quickly becoming a preferred treatment because it is so helpful for the patient’s pain relief, has minimal risk, reduces the use of pain medication, and requires little to no down time for recovery. The procedure is now offered by Edson Knapp, MD, board-certified radiologist at SPH, and is covered by most insurances.

Because there are many causes of back pain your doctor may require that you have an MRI of your back prior to having this treatment. It is important to understand what is causing your pain so as to receive the correct treatment. In addition to RFA, South Peninsula Hospital offers a complete and holistic approach to help you with your back pain. Ask your primary care doctor if you might be a good candidate for RFA, or call the hospital’s imaging department at 235-0362 to learn more.

Edson Knapp, MD
Interventional Radiologist and Medical Director at South Peninsula Hospital’s Imaging Department
Fellowship Trained in Oncologic Imaging and Interventional Radiology
Board Certified in Radiology

Wildfire Smoke and your Health

Here are a few tips for your health as the southern peninsula gets more smoke from the Swan Lake fire:

The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, these populations are at greatest risk from wildfire smoke:

  • People who have heart or lung diseases, like heart disease, chest pain, lung disease, or asthma, are at higher risk from wildfire smoke.
  • Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke. This may be due to their increased risk of heart and lung diseases.
  • Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke as children’s airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults do.

If you are healthy, you’re usually not at a major risk from short-term exposures to smoke. Still, it is a good idea to avoid breathing smoke if you can help it and use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it’s probably not a good time to mow the lawn or go for a run. And it’s probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.

Use these links for additional health information related to smoke:

Here are some smoke prediction sites to help with planning activities and decision making: