The Orcas Medical Foundation Board received the following in an email from Debra Gussin, executive director of UW Neighborhood Clinics explaining how things went at the Orcas Medical Clinic on its opening day as a UW Medicine Clinic.
I’m very proud to report that our new UW Medicine Orcas Clinic opened yesterday (Monday, Sept. 11) with great success! We saw 20 patients on our first day, and the team worked incredibly well together to take care of them all! I can’t say enough about the wonderful team here at the clinic who are now part of UW Medicine. It’s important for you all to know that this was a particularly challenging launch in that we could not close the clinic to do all the necessary training, installation and set-up. Normally, we would have two weeks offline for all that intensive pre-flight work, but of course here we were on a very tight timeline and it was simply not an option to close the clinic even for a single day much less two weeks, so it has required many people working very long hours, evenings and weekends, to get ready. Even with all that extra work, we now have to register each patient into the UW system and catch up some of their health history, so things are taking a bit longer than normal, but that will definitely smooth out. Our patients were generally very pleased and patient with us, and I will say we’ve already seen some remarkable patient discoveries that confirm we’re on the right path.
We are so honored to be part of this wonderful community, and to be working with the great team here. We have two excellent UW physicians who are seeing patients while we get our three local providers credentialed and oriented. Dr. Maribeth Velasquez will be here on Orcas through the end of October, and Dr. Pam Sheffield will be here most of that time as well. We’ve also brought a whole support team over from our Smokey Point Clinic, as well as experts from our IT and other UW Medicine departments, all of whom have been on-site to provide support and backup as our Orcas team is in learning mode. This was a very ambitious undertaking, and I can’t say enough about our wonderful Orcas staff and Jay Priebe who has worked tirelessly to make sure it all came together.
Make sure folks in the community know we are here for them for the long term, and that while there may be some minor bumps at first, we believe there will be a transformational change in the overall quality of care. We appreciate everyone’s patience while our team adjusts to the changes, but they are truly changes for the better.
Any time you see one of our amazing team members, please extend your gratitude and support. These are folks who put the needs of our community above all else, working harder than you can imagine. They are terrific, and we couldn’t do this without them: Aliviah Garcia, Patient Service Rep; Mary Garcia, LPN; Neisha Grams, Patient Service Rep; Susan Newkumet, RN; Jennifer Taylor, Manager; Ravin Williams, Lab/Radiology.
I’m also very grateful for all of you, who had the vision and commitment to make this happen. Your tenacity and leadership are remarkable, as is the level of support of the whole community. It’s been a long journey, and I know there will be further challenges, but I think the amazing quality and reputation of the Orcas Clinic will be well worth it. Congratulations on this wonderful achievement!