Spring 2017

President Letter

In February, we held Alaska Chapter elections and voted in new officers and a new board.  Our leader Dr. Anne Zink is now our “Past-President”.  We are fortunate that this is an official officer position and her work is not yet done.  Her leadership in emergency medicine in Alaska has been inspirational and I want to start by thanking her for all she has done.  We can thank her for reinvigorating this chapter and for making this organization not a venue for us to gather to discuss our field, but an opportunity to engage Alaska and make positive change.  Thank you Anne!

At our last meeting in February we elected the new officer panel.

  • Our new chapter Vice President is Dr. Nathan Peimann.  Nathan has practiced in Juneau at Bartlett Regional Hospital since 2001 and has been active in AK ACEP for the last 5 years most recently serving as treasurer.
  • Our new treasurer is Dr. David Scordino.  Dr. Scordino recently finished his residency and subsequently his fellowship in Disaster Medicine at Johns Hopkins.  He is now in Anchorage working clinically at AK Regional and Providence Anchorage.
  • Our new secretary is Dr. Nicholas Papacostas.  Nick works full time at Elmendorf Hospital.  He has run our journal club over the last 2 years.
  • Dr. Russ Johanson was newly elected to our board.  He has been practicing at MatSu Regional since 2014.  Dr. Megan Lea was re-elected to the board for her second term.  She works in the Alaska Native system at ANMC.  Both Stan Robinson (of Fairbanks) and Danita Koehler (who continues to work in a variety of more rural Alaskan locations) will continue in their board seats which are midterm.

Anne and I travelled to Washington, DC in March for ACEP’s annual “Leadership and Advocacy Conference.”  We were able to meet with Senator Dan Sullivan, and met with aides for Representative Young and Senator Murkowski.  Healthcare has been front and center in politics recently, and we believe it is necessary for us to step up and represent our patients interests in the upcoming discussions.  This conference is a great opportunity to learn and participate in the political process, and I recommend anyone with interest to join us in the future.

Healthcare politics have also been active here in Alaska.  Our state legislature is currently considering a bill to address the opioid epidemic SB 79 / HB 159.  We have sent a letter to our legislature with general support of a bill, but with specific recommendations on how it needs to be tailored.  We have been hearing back from our politicians with appreciation for our recommendations and will continue to engage them in this process.

As part of the state SB74 Medicaid Redesign project Dr. Zink recently presented at the Alaska Health Forum meeting April 18th giving an update of the current rollout of the EDIE (Emergency Department Information Exchange) project.  Currently all of the Providence system and Soldotna are now online and sharing information.  We expect more hospitals to come online soon, as well as a tentative goal for the prescription drug monitoring database to be pushing information into the system this Summer 2017.  This will be a great tool to improve patient care through provider access to information.  The first steering committee for the EDIE project will be held in the afternoon on May 18th.

As I make the transition to chapter President I recognize I cannot do alone all that Anne has started.  I ask each of our members to think about how they can participate in the chapter.  We want to continue to have members participating in state meetings, panels and committees to represent us as emergency physicians, and to advocate for our specialty so we can offer Alaskans excellent healthcare.  Please contact me if you would like to be participate more.

Our next Chapter meeting will be our Spring Journal Club, held on May 18th at 6:30pm.  We will gather in the private dining room at Crush Wine Bistro for a good discussion.  Please join us.  If you you are looking for an excuse to travel to Anchorage, consider attending the EDIE steering committee earlier in the afternoon to represent your hospital.  Also, the consistently excellent Resuscitation conference organized by Dr. Levy starts the next day on May 19th.

Hope to see you May 18th at Journal Club,


Benjamin Shelton, MD, MPH, FACEP
Anchorage, AK

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AK-ACEP Donations to keep the Chapter Moving

At our last ACEP meeting we had a large discussion about funding Alaska ACEP moving forward.  As you know, many things are happening on a local, State and National level faster than many of us can keep up with that may shape the future of medicine for the next decade or more.   As the State has been looking at ways to improve care and reduce cost we have found there are very few physicians at the table to tell our story and the story of our patients.  Much of the time and effort to grow this voice has been at the expense of the chapter executives and this is not sustainable in the long run.  We discussed raising state dues, but given the already large national dues, we want to encourage as many people as possible to be a part of the discussion and worried this may limit some individual interests.  Also, some members expressed that their partners did not support everything at a national level, but wanted to support AK ACEP’s work.  As a result, we decided to ask every major ED group if they would consider making a yearly donation to AK ACEP to help support the work that is being done on a State level.   Alaska Emergency Medicine Associates (at Providence) has committed $6000 and Mat-Su $4000.  We are humbly asking you to talk to you group about considering making a yearly contribution to AK ACEP as a group to help support the ongoing work to improve our practice environment and the care of our patients.

Please send your donation to:
2001 Sixth Ave, Suite 2700
Seattle, WA 98121
Checks payable to AK-ACEP

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AK-ACEP Journal Club is May 18

Time: May 18th 630pm

Location: Crush restaurant

Join Alaska ACEP for a review of some recent literature regarding opioid prescribing in the ED.  Certainly, this topic remains a hot button issue both nationwide and here in Alaska.  Two articles explore the effect opioid scripts from the ED may affect a patient's future opioid use. The third is a rare trial that actually assesses the effectiveness of opioid medication for a very common ED presentation. 

It will be an opportunity to meet with colleagues, and discuss the challenges we face balancing the treatment of pain with the risks posed by opioid medications.

Please RSVP to plp@wsma.org.


Opioid-Prescribing Patterns of Emergency Physicians and Risk of Long-Term Use

Naproxen with Cyclobenzaprine, Oxycodone/Acetaminophen, or Placebo for Treating Acute Low Back Pain A Randomized Clinical Trial

Association of Emergency Department Opioid Initiation with Recurrent Opioid Use

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ED project forms Steering Committee and Clinical Consensus Group Subcommittee

On May 18, the ED Coordination Project will hold a joint meeting of the new Steering Committee and Clinical Consensus Group Subcommittee. The Steering Committee will oversee the implementation of Emergency Department Information Exchange (EDIE) system. The Clinical Consensus Subcommittee consists of clinical team members who provide operational guidance and best practice recommendations to the Steering Committee.

The hospital-based ED Coordination Project from SB 74 is a collaboration between ASHNHA, the Alaska Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the State of Alaska. We have a more-the-merrier philosophy and encourage engagement from those interested in the project. Invitations will start to go out next week. If you would like to serve on one of the committees, please contact connie@ashnha.com.

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Steering Committee and Clinical Consensus Group Subcommittee Meeting

May 18, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

Alaska Regional Hospital

Classrooms 1 & 2 (map)

To join the webinar (outside Anchorage only): https://ashnha.adobeconnect.com/akerproject/  Select “Enter as a Guest” and enter your name to join the webinar. Once you enter the room you will be prompted with the call-in number or can type your phone number in and you will receive a call from the system.
If you cannot connect by webinar you can dial into the meeting by teleconference:  1-800-832-0736 Room Number: *4386043#

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2017 RACI Conference is May 19-20

We hope to have you join us for our 11th RACI Conference. It is the start of our second decade in bringing some of the top providers of emergency and resuscitative medicine to Alaska. This year the Conference is being held on the amazing grounds of the BP Energy Center.

The conference begins Friday, May 19 at 12PM with a meeting of the Ravens. Providers of all levels are invited to attend the Northwest EMS Medical Directors Assembly: A gathering of EMS Directors from the region with the aim of networking and information sharing.

There will be an open reception at the Residence Inn from 5:30PM-8:30PM, next to the BP Energy Center.

Saturday, May 20th, we will gather at the BP Energy Center, with some of the top providers in emergency and resuscitative medicine. Our conference is designed to meet the education needs of physicians and nurses involved in emergency and critical care, and EMS Providers at all levels. A heart healthy breakfast and lunch will be served on Saturday.

RACI Agenda

Please click here for information about the BP Energy Center

If you will be traveling to Anchorage, the Residence Inn has a special rate set up for our event. Please click here for Reservations.

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ED Coordination Project Moves Forward

The Emergency Department Coordination Project (EDCP) is a collaborative effort between the Alaska Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (AK-ACEP), the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA), and the State of Alaska to use an electronic information system in emergency departments to improve the effectiveness and delivery of care. The information system is part of Senate Bill 74 Medicaid Reform that passed last legislative session. The language in SB 74 is modeled after Washington’s ER is for Emergencies project that saved Washington State $33.6 million in one year. Learn more here.

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Alaska ACEP

2001 Sixth Avenue
Suite 2700
Seattle, WA 98121

(206) 956-3648