Unify medical care for Orcas Island | Letter

Orcas Island residents are in a quandary about medical care again. This time the University of Washington – UW Clinics thinks they can solve the problem and absorb huge indebtedness.

It has been stated they need to have $750,000 to proceed and another $300,000 per year beyond that amount. This is a huge financial burden which I cannot imagine has any logic. This has not worked before with Island Hospital and they left, and came back only to leave again. For the past ten years I have served as President of the board of the Orcas Family Health Center as we try to fulfill our mission to provide medical care for all who need it regardless of their ability to pay or any insurance they may or may not have. We provide 24/7 care for residents and visitors and have never turned anyone away.

This is a daunting and expensive endeavor. We have done everything we can do to assist the process and still fall short of the costs. We have offered to merge with other medical practices many times over the past years and have always been rejected when it seems only logical that a combined medical center would benefit the entire community. OFHC is a 501C3 nonprofit with rural health clinic status as opposed to a private practice. We provide a majority of medical care for over 45 % of islanders and visitors Our patient load is handled by three medical staff, two registered nurses and an office staff who go above and beyond because they believe in our mission.

We are subsidized only by volunteers who raise funds with projects that bring in relatively small amounts of support money. I think the answer to the problem is to unify all the medical care into the Orcas Medical Center as it was originally intended and would encourage total community support.

Ken Speck

Orcas Island