I write in support of the forthcoming ballot initiative to create a Public Hospital District. Also on the ballot will be the election of five commissioners to implement a sustainable program of primary, after hours and urgent medical care on Orcas Island. I believe the many points in favor of the district have been well articulated and are probably understood by most islanders. They include:
– Providing broad access to fundamental medical services for all residents of or visitors to Orcas Island, regardless of their age, economic status or residence.
– Offering the option of support for all medical practices currently operating on Orcas, with the possibility of including new practices that might evolve in the future.
– Safeguarding the quality of Orcas medical care services and facilities, both those available on the island and those available off island through information technology.
– Creating a reliable partner for our island’s existing, and wonderful, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), offered through the Orcas Island Fire Department.
– Coming into step with similar public health care districts now operating on Lopez and San Juan Islands.
The point I wish to emphasize in this letter is the drastic situation that may result should we FAIL to pass the ballot initiative. Without a stable source of adequate funding, it is likely that none of the island’s current medical practices will long survive. We could very well find ourselves without ANY primary, after hours or urgent care options short of calling 911. Furthermore, with yet another failure of our community to step to the plate to provide sustainable financial support, it seems inconceivable that any qualified service providers will opt to move to Orcas in the future.
Notwithstanding the increase we will incur in our future property taxes, I believe that over time the healthcare district will save us all money, compared with the costs of leaving the island to find routine medical care or being flown off island for urgent or after hours care.Please join me in supporting the initiative.