Doctors Martinez, Roberts join SPH hospitalist team

Change means SPH will have full-time hospitalist team.

As part of a move to having dedicated hospitalists on staff, South Peninsula Hospital has named two family medicine physicians from Homer Medical Clinic to be full-time hospitalists. SPH also has hired a new family medicine physician, Dr. Joe Llenos, to the staff of Homer Medical Clinic.

Dr. Christy Martinez and Dr. Sarah Roberts, board certified family medicine physicians at Homer Medical Center, have accepted full time positions as hospitalists at SPH. Their move from family medicine to inpatient will begin on Oct. 1. A third hospitalist, Dr. Kira Bendixen, will be joining them in November to complete the hospitalist team.

According to a press release, South Peninsula Hospital shifted to a hybrid hospitalist model over three years ago, when Homer Medical providers started rotating week-long coverage at the hospital. This was the first step towards having dedicated hospitalists, who work exclusively in the inpatient setting.

However, it has been a continuing desire of the medical staff to have a more consistent, permanent team for inpatient care. The COVID-19 Pandemic challenged the hospital to increase the capacity to care for critically ill and complex medical patients locally, particularly when the option to send these patients north to larger and more specialized hospitals was delayed or not available. Additionally, Homer Medical was in need of a more consistent schedule of providers to offer patients, especially for scheduling recurring appointments.

Dr. Christina Tuomi, Chief Medical Officer at the hospital and one of the primary care providers at Homer Medical Center, said she was excited about the decision.

“With this change, the hospital is further developing services and expertise in our inpatient-based care, while offering more consistent access to providers and long range scheduling of appointments in the clinic setting. All to best serve our patients and the community,” she said.

Dr. Martinez and Dr. Roberts have a combined 16 years of practicing family medicine at Homer Medical Center, Dr. Martinez with six and Dr. Roberts with ten. Dr. Martinez was born at South Peninsula Hospital and raised on the southern Kenai Peninsula, so brings lifelong connections to the community outside her practice. Their experience and personal knowledge of hundreds of patients and families will be an important addition to their medical expertise in their role as hospitalists. Martinez has been serving in the role of Hospital Medicine Director for the last four years, overseeing the inpatient area, and both have been part of the rotating schedule providing hospital coverage.

“I will greatly miss the opportunity to care for local residents as their family physician, but I look forward to being a part of increasing Homer’s inpatient based services that will grow our local care to meet the needs of our community in new and necessary ways,” Martinez said.

Roberts added, “I am honored to continue providing care for individuals and families during some of the most joyful, trying and difficult times, and hope that being a familiar face will make a difference.”

Both providers have added clinic days during the month of September to allow for necessary appointments to assist with the transition. Homer Medical Center is adding new providers to ensure choice and access for patients. Joe Llenos, M.D, board certified in family medicine, and Bonnie Turner, family nurse practitioner, are joining the team and will begin seeing patients at the end of August. Additionally, Doctors Tortora, Swain and Tuomi will now have increased capacity to see more patients at Homer Medical as they will no longer have hospital rotations. For a complete list of providers at Homer Medical Center, visit

Dr. Llenos joins the provider team at the area’s largest primary care clinic, bringing with him over a decade of family practice experience. Dr. Llenos grew up in the Philippines, went to medical school at West Visayas State University, and did his residency at The Institute for Family Health, New York. Dr. Llenos has a particular interest in geriatric care, but enjoys helping people of all ages to manage chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and more. His approach is to partner with his patients to set and reach goals to optimize their health through lifestyle changes with the support of medical assistance as needed.

Dr. Llenos and his wife, Cindy, moved to Homer earlier this month from Idaho, where he spent 13 years practicing family medicine. Healthcare and helping others run in the family, as Cindy is a nurse, and their son is in his third year of medical school in Ohio. When not caring for others, the family enjoys hiking, mountaineering, climbing, and all things in the great outdoors. Dr. Llenos especially enjoys landscape and night sky photography. His images emphasize the importance of nature, the night sky, and how important it is to minimize light pollution, as it disrupts biological rhythms. His photography can be seen on Instagram at Ancient_Fog_Photgraphy. His winning essay on the importance of dark skies is featured in, Astro2021 competition.

When asked about their interest in moving to Homer, Llenos credits the philosophy behind the patient care he saw last year during a site visit to SPH and hospital-owned clinics, a philosophy which is often not offered in larger healthcare systems.

“I was impressed by your response to the pandemic, to your focus on truly helping people,” he said. Regarding moving to Homer, he said it was a slam-dunk decision given the lifestyle and access to the great outdoors.

Appointments are now being scheduled with Dr. Llenos by calling 907-235-8586. Information on him and all the providers at Homer Medical Center can be found at New patients are welcome at the clinic.

Dr. Christy Martinez has been named a full-time hospitalist at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Currently a family medicine physician at Homer Medical Clinic, Dr. Martinez moves full time to the hospital on Oct. 1. (Photo provided/South Peninsula Hospital)
Dr. Sarah Roberts has been named a full-time hospitalist at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Currently a family medicine physician at Homer Medical Clinic, Dr. Roberts moves full time to the hospital on Oct. 1. (Photo provided/South Peninsula Hospital)