November-December 2017

In This Issue:

  • Student Feature: Letter and Music from Colten Morris
  • Client Experience Survey Updates
  • STI Update: Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Rates on the Rise
  • Thanksgiving: Updates from the Executive Director
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Contraceptive Corner: The Shot
  • ...and more!

KBFPC at rotary health fair

Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic was excited to participate in the annual Rotary Health Fair on Saturday, October 28th. Outreach Advocate Rebecca Bartee and Clinic Assistant Rose Wohlgemuth offered information about our services, answered questions, and helped fair-goers make their own KBFPC buttons.
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Photo: Rebecca Bartee, KBFPC Outreach Advocate, represents the organization at the annual Rotary Health Fair.

Homer Bookstore Donation Appreciated

By: Colten Morris, Student

I would like to do a shout out to the Homer Bookstore for their very generous donation to the R.E.C. Room through their "Blind Date With A Book" program. The R.E.C. Room is a very important resource to the community because it gives the youth of Homer Alaska area a chance to be social and active. We as young people can engage in public activities such as Youth on Record Alaska, which is a music producing organization here a the R.EC. Room. This place is my home and I love everyone here. My greatest enjoyment here is creating and expressing my music to people who would like to hear, and relate to what I talk about in my songs. On behalf of everyone here, we appreciate having generous donation to the R.E.C. Room, such as the donation of $101 that was recently added to our cause from the Homer Bookstore. Homer wouldn't be much of an excitement for the community if it wasn't for the individuals who created and kept the Rec Room a functioning establishment for teens.



(Colten Morris)

This letter was originally published in the the Homer News, September 21, 2017.

Check out Colt.49's music

Created during YORAK sessions at the REC Room


Continue, feat. Cody Davidson by Colt.45

Client Experience Survey Updates

By: Selina Mach, Clinic Assistant

As part of a visit to KBFPC, all clients are offered the opportunity to complete a short, anonymous survey to discuss their experience and provide feedback. The survey, offered both online through SurveyMonkey and in a paper format, is an important source of feedback that allows KBFPC to make changes based directly on client response.

To meet the ever-changing needs of our organization and our clients, KBFPC made some significant updates to the client experience survey for the fiscal year 2018.

One survey question that is completely new this year stemmed from our goal of becoming a trauma-informed organization. This question asks how effectively KBFPC addresses the needs of people who have experienced trauma or stressful life events and allows clients to assess the physical space of the organization, the staff, and whether information was provided about the relationship between trauma and health.

In order to collect a lot of information while keeping the survey time under 5 minutes, we changed many of the multiple-choice questions to a ranking matrix, allowing clients to quickly evaluate multiple aspects of their visit on a 1-4 scale. For example, one question asks clients how they would rate their services based on quality, affordability, and availability of needed services; clients evaluate each item on a scale ranging from poor to excellent. Each of the ranking matrix questions also has a space for clients to add additional comments or feedback.

Historically, the free-form response questions have been a valuable source of client feedback, allowing us to make such changes as creating a separate check-out area, adding additional lighting to the exam rooms, and allowing clients to wait for the provider in their clothes rather than a gown. We have added more opportunities for clients to provide free-form responses throughout the survey, which has created a great platform for collecting specific suggestions.

The responses in the updated client experience survey have been overwhelmingly positive. One respondent described their visit as “evidence-based care in a warm, welcoming, supportive, calming environment,” while another stated “I would travel from any part of Alaska to be seen here.” The feedback gathered during first quarter was rich, thoughtful, and constructive. We look forward to continuing to make changes based directly on client feedback gathered using the updated survey as we continue into fiscal year 2018.

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Photo: the Homer Peer Education Education Team prepares for the upcoming Lead On Conference, where they will present on contraception and consent.

Left to right: Anna Meredith, Youth Programs Manager; Ethan Smith, Parker Gibson, Lia Jacobsen, and Chloe Pleznac, Peer Educators; and Connor Schmidt, Peer Education Coordinator.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Rates on the Rise

By: Selina Mach, Clinic Assistant

Alaska is known for many things: northern lights, streams swimming with wild salmon, and snow-frosted mountains that spread across the horizon.

But did you know that Alaska is also known for having some of the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the country?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that are caused by bacteria. These infections represent some of the most common reportable diseases in the United States. While chlamydia and gonorrhea are common infections, they can both have serious health consequences if left untreated.

Chlamydia [bacteria: chlamydia trachomatis]

Since 2010, Alaska has had the highest rates of chlamydia in the United States. Since 2000, Alaska has consistently ranked either first or second in national chlamydia rates.

In 2016, there were over 5,600 reported cases of chlamydia in Alaska. This represents a slight increase (0.5%) from the number of reported cases in 2015. Remember, this numbers only include individuals who were tested and treated. Most people who are treated for chlamydia did not know they had the infection until they were tested.

While chlamydia infection often shows no signs or symptoms, it can cause serious health consequences if left untreated. In women, chlamydia can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the uterus). In men, chlamydia infection can spread to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing pain and fever. In pregnant women, chlamydia infection can cause pre-term labor, low birth weight, and lead to serious complications like pneumonia in newborn infants. For both men and women, an active chlamydia infection increases susceptibility to HIV.

Gonorrhea [bacteria: neisseria gonorrhoeae)

In October, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services issued a public service announcement, warning residents of a statewide outbreak of gonorrhea. While the overall numbers of gonorrhea infection are less than chlamydia, gonorrhea rates in Alaska are climbing at an alarming rate. In 2016, there were 1,454 reported cases of gonorrhea in Alaska, representing a 31% increase from 2015.

Alaska's gonorrhea rates have been well above the national average for the last several years. In 2016, Alaska had the fourth-highest rates of gonorrhea in the United States. Alaska's gonorrhea rates continue to rise as we enter the final months of 2017.

If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to many of the same complications as chlamydia, including long-term pelvic pain, pregnancy complications, and infertility in women. In men, gonorrhea can cause a painful condition in the tubes that carry sperm, which can, in rare cases, cause a man to become sterile. In rare cases, gonorrhea can also spread to the blood or joints, which can be a life-threatening condition.

Who is at risk for chlamydia and gonorrhea?

Anyone who has oral, vaginal, or anal sex can get chlamydia or gonorrhea. Unless you have been tested and are in a mutually-monogamous relationship with a partner who has also been tested, you could have one of these bacteria without knowing.

That said, there are certain populations who carry the burden of these bacteria. Research shows that adolescents and young adults are at high risk for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other sexually transmitted infections. Young people ages 15-24 account for approximately half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year. Out of the 5,698 cases of chlamydia reported in Alaska in 2016, 79% were in people under age 30. Out of the 1,454 cases of gonorrhea in 2016, 56% were in people under age 30.

Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic offers testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other sexually transmitted infections on a walk-in basis. Testing is quick, easy, and non-invasive. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea is typically done through either a urine sample or self-collected swab. Testing—and most of our other services—is available on our sliding scale. Call or stop by today!

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:30 - 5:00

Tuesday and Thursday: 9:00 - 5:00

Unable to come in during our regular business hours? Give us a call! We are often able to accommodate your scheduling needs.

Information compiled from the State of Alaska Epidemiology Bulletins. For original bulletins, please visit: http://epibulletins.dhss.alaska.gov/


(These are a few of my favorite things...)

by Catriona Reynolds, Executive Director

Healthcare Marketplace

By: Selina Mach, Clinic Assistant

The open enrollment period to sign up for insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace is November 1st through December 15th, 2017. This marks a significant change from previous years, when individuals and families were able to sign up for insurance until March of the following year. Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska continues to be the only insurance carrier available in Alaska through the Healthcare Marketplace. This year, Alaskans will have five insurance plans to choose from in three tiers of coverage: 2 Bronze plans, 2 Silver plans, and 1 Gold plan. The Bronze plans tend to have a lower monthly premium with higher costs for accessing care, whereas Silver and Gold plans tend to have a higher monthly cost with lower costs for accessing care.

The open enrollment period does not apply to individuals and families signing up for coverage through the Alaska State Medicaid program. Medicaid enrollment is available for individuals with qualifying incomes throughout the calendar year.

As in previous years, Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic has a Certified Application Counselor on staff who can help answer questions about signing up for insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace. To schedule an appointment to discuss your insurance options, please contact the clinic at (907) 235-3436. If we are unable to meet your scheduling needs, we may connect you with a Certified Application Counselor at South Peninsula Hospital or Seldovia Village Tribe Clinic. Give us a call today and we can help find an option that works for you!

Pink Flags raise Awareness and Funds

Our sincere thanks to all of the individuals and businesses who made a contribution to our annual Pink Flag Campaign. Your donation helps raise awareness and funding for breast cancer screenings and other preventative health services for individuals in our community!

Catriona Reynolds

KBFPC BC Awareness Month 2017 by Catriona Reynolds
Additionally: The Clinic of Chiropractic Health, Homer Chamber of Commerce, Homer's Jeans, and Homer Brewing.


A special thank you to the following organizations who were able to contribute $300 or more to the 2017 Pink Flag Campaign:

  • East End Mini Storage

  • Salty Dawg Saloon

  • South Peninsula Hospital

  • Ulmer's Drug and Hardware

  • The Grog Shop

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The Grog Shop displayed four flags this year across their three locations: the Grog Shop East End, the Rum Locker, and the downtown Grog Shop. Thanks for your support, Grog Shop!

Contraceptive Corner: The Shot

By: Selina Mach, Clinic Assistant

What is it?

The contraceptive shot, known by the brand name Depo-Provera, is a type of hormonal birth control. It is an injection given once every 12 weeks.

How does it work?

The shot contains one hormone: a type of progestin. This hormone helps to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries). It also causes cervical mucus to thicken, which can make it harder for sperm to enter the uterus.

How effective is it?

When used perfectly (getting your shot on time, every 12 weeks), the shot is about 99% effective. When used in the real world (not quite perfectly), 6 out of 100 women will likely become pregnant within one year of using the shot.

What are potential benefits of the shot?

The shot is one of the most discreet birth control methods, so it is a great choice for women who prefer a very private method. Many women experience lighter bleeding and less cramps when using the birth control shot (and some women have no bleeding at all). Many women also find the shot to be more convenient than pills, patches, or the ring, since it only needs to be given once every 12 weeks. The shot does not contain any estrogen, so it is a good choice for women who cannot use estrogen-containing contraceptive methods.

How can I get it?

Call KBFPC to schedule your appointment today! A provider will help you determine if the shot is a birth control method that will work for you. A contraceptive injection takes just a few minutes—then you’re set for birth control for three months! The shot—along with a full range of contraceptive options—is available on our sliding scale.

Contact Information

Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic is a member-supported organization that provides broad access to reproductive healthcare services and education in a supportive and empowering environment.
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