ATTENTION: PERTUSSIS (WOOPING COUGH) AND THE FLU ARE SPREADING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

Pertussis, also called whooping cough, can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing that often makes it hard to breathe. Pertussis is a serious, very contagious illness that can even cause death.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Contact your health care provider or the Public Health Center (235-8857) for testing and diagnosis, treatment or immunization options for protecting against these diseases.

Stay informed of important discussions and decisions underway regarding the future of healthcare on the Kenai Peninsula.

Visit the Kenai Peninsula Borough Healthcare Task Force site for information.

Hospital welcomes new and renewing board members; announces officers and new chief of staff

South Peninsula Hospital, Inc. Board of Directors welcomes a new board member and re-appoints three.  Lane Chesley was appointed in January to serve for one year in a vacated seat, and Vickey Hodnik, DDS, Matt Hambrick, and David Groesbeck were all re-appointed to three year seats at the December meeting.

The new officers were elected for the year as follows:   Mathew Hambrick, President; Julie Woodworth, Vice President; David Groesbeck, Treasurer; and Bernadette Wilson, Secretary.

Sarah Spencer, DO, family practice physician specializing in addiction medicine at Homer Medical Center and Ninilchik Community Clinic, was elected by the Medical Staff as the 2016 Chief of Staff.   Chief-of-Staff elect is Rob Downey, MD.

The hospital’s operating board of directors meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month, however the February meeting has been changed to Thursday, February 25th at 7pm in the South Peninsula Hospital conference room. The meeting is open to the public.

Homer Medical offers high school Sports Physicals Year Round at discounted rate!

The Alaska School Activities Association requires a sports physical for high school students to participate in organized athletics and activities. In lieu of the one day sports physical clinic event this year, local clinics now offer sports physicals year round as part of regular services. This is much more convenient for busy families and allows the exam to happen closer in time to the sport season your child is participating in.

It’s important to know that a “School Sports Physical” is an abbreviated exam that checks only the requirements on the form. It is not a comprehensive wellness exam, may not pick up major issues affecting a student, and is not covered by insurance. An option to be considered instead is the annual “Wellness Exam”. One Wellness Exam per year is covered by all insurances*, does not require a deductible or co-pay, and is an extensive in-depth physical which includes updating immunizations, discussing social health risks, addressing health concerns, and any health issues that may come up in the exam. This will more than meet the requirements of the sports physical and reassure that all the child’s health is being addressed, not just the items on the sports physical checklist.

Whichever you choose, School Sports Physical or an annual Wellness Exam, please specify which exam at the time of making the appointment. All three clinics in Homer offer both exams, but it must be scheduled using the correct exam name if utilizing the insurance benefit. Sports physicals range in cost from $30-$40 depending on the clinic.

To help accommodate the need, Homer Medical Center has reserved appointments so these physicals can be done prior to the start of camps and practices. PLEASE make your appointment today! Call 235-8586. Homer Medical Center also offers a subsidized sports physical at a lower rate for families facing financial hardship. Please inquire about this at the time of setting your appointment.

*All commercial and government insurances except Alaska Retirees (Aetna).

Welcome Teresa K. Johnson, MD to Homer Medical Center

new_doctor_130South Peninsula Hospital welcomes Teresa K. Johnson, MD, a board-certified family practice physician to its active medical staff.  Dr. Johnson attended medical school at the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine, and completed her residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center / HCA Wesley Family Practice.  Dr. Johnson practiced family medicine in Wichita, Kansas for more than 25 years before moving to Alaska this year.

Dr. Johnson has a special interest in education and prevention of illness, women’s health, adolescent care and pediatrics, but enjoys caring for all ages, from newborn through seniors.

Dr. Johnson is now accepting new patients at Homer Medical Center, and will sometimes be providing emergency care in the ER.  She and her husband join family members who already reside in the area, and they are happy to now call this home.

For appointments call 907-235-8586.

Greg Hough, MD, now offering Surgical Services

Screen shot 2015-05-14 at 3.53.00 PMGreg Hough, MD, provides a full range of surgical services, including the most current of minimally invasive procedures and advanced laparoscopic procedures.  He offers consult and surgery for conditions involving the breast, endocrine system, gastrointestinal tract, colon, liver, pancreas and rectum.

Dr. Hough is now accepting new patients.  His surgical clinic is located at 4201 Bartlett Street, Suite 201, in the Kachemak Professional Building.  For more information or to schedule and appointment, call 235-0310.

Ebola Update

Update from South Peninsula Hospital  Oct. 19, 2014
Although South Peninsula Hospital has not yet treated anyone who falls into the risk category for Ebola, when needed we will utilize the screening criteria for patient isolation as set forth by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as follows:

Fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting,
stomach pain, lack of appetite and, in some cases, bleeding,
AND
recent travel (within 21 days) to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone or
other countries where EVD transmission has been reported by the World Health Organization,
or close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of Ebola.

If a person meets both criteria, we ask them to come to the ER immediately. However, such patients are advised to please call the main phone number 235-8101 prior to their arrival so we can prepare for their visit and, if conditions warrant, admit them through a private entrance to avoid the public areas.

How is Ebola Spread?

According to the CDC, there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people:

  • Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen. To become infected with the virus, you would need to get some of the ill person’s bodily fluids into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or into your body via a cut or a needle stick. Doctors say that there is no evidence anyone has ever been infected via sweat.
  • Touching objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Touching infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat
  • A cough from a sick patient could infect someone close enough to be sprayed with droplets of mucus or saliva. People dealing with anyone who may be ill are told to stand at least three feet away, preferably six. Being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time, without wearing protective gear, is considered direct contact.

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air (the virus doesn’t drift through the air like germs that cause measles or tuberculosis) or by water or food.

Staying Healthy

The community is reminded that it is “flu season” and there are three serious contagious illnesses affecting the population nationwide, all three with some shared symptoms:  Influenza A (H1N1), Enterovirus and Ebola.

Our infection control team will be available at the Health Fair on Nov. 1 to share information, and 200 free flu shots will be administered at the health fair.

  • Influenza: The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.  It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Symptoms include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness).
  • Enterovirus D68: Also known as EV-D68, Enterovirus D68 is a contagious respiratory illness initially resembling the common cold; symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and a cough; however, some patients will get a severe cough, have difficulty breathing and/or develop a rash.  EV-D68 can also be accompanied by a fever or wheezing.

The best way to prevent the flu is by proper hand hygiene and getting a flu vaccine each year, which are available at all three medical clinics in the community, Safeway and the public health center by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays for those who qualify*.  Homer Medical Center offers special flu shot clinics every Monday for HMC patients. Call 235-8586 to schedule a time to avoid a wait.
Is South Peninsula Hospital prepared? 

The Pandemic Flu committee at South Peninsula Hospital has been meeting since early October with specific regard to Ebola preparedness, and staff-wide education began this week to help all employees stay informed on prevention, identification of and treatment protocols. Dr. Larry Reynolds, our infection control physician, is conducting numerous employee trainings on preventing the spread of Ebola and other contagious diseases, and the pandemic flu committee meets regularly and attends statewide and nationwide teleconferences to stay abreast of trends and updates.