Petersburg Pilot -


Board approves acupuncture training for Dr. Jennifer Hyer


Dr. Jennifer Hyer

The Petersburg Medical Center set plans in motion to expand service to include acupuncture. The Medical Center Board of Directors approved a proposal for acupuncture training for Chief of Staff Dr. Jennifer Hyer.

Hyer will study medical acupuncture at the Helms Medical Institute, in Phoenix, Ariz. beginning this fall and wrapping up training in the spring.

The Medical Center Board approved the $15,000 proposal in order to bring an alternative treatment to patients.

“Acupuncture is widely used for depression, allergies, chronic pain, chemo therapy-related side effects such as nausea, diarrhea and fatigue released to acupuncture. Acupuncture can also be used to treat fibromyalgia, mental health disorders, tobacco cessation, substance abuse and just overall wellness,” Hyer said during her presentation during the board’s regular meeting on March 22.

“It's a safe and effective way to treat patients with rare, easily treated side effects,” she added. “This has been on my 10 year plan, and I'm only one-and-a-half years into practice and I'm very excited about it,” she said.

Also during the meeting the board discussed the future of the center's long term patient care ability. Options may include building a separate facility for long term patient care or making additional investments to the current center, but no decisions were made.

Chief Financial Officer Leon Walsh reported to the board that the gross operating budget for the month of February was almost $1.3 million, compared to last year of $823, 000.

“It was a very large increase. Most of that was the swing beds up on the top floor,” Walsh said. “This year we are running four, five and six a day. Last year we were averaging less than one a day.”

For long-term care, Walsh said, all 15 beds are occupied: “We have a full house.”

Medical Center expenses for the month of February were $905,000. This is higher than usual, Walsh said. But it is to be expected because business is up, he added.

In other business, Medical Center is expecting visiting physician, Dr. Priscilla Valentine, on March 30. Valentine is will be coming from Juneau’s Valley Medical Care to do an OB Outreach Clinic.


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