Orcas Island Health Care District and Hospital negotiations | Letter

It appears that the board is attempting to reinvent the wheel by considering bringing in Island Hospital again. Didn’t we have them running the clinic for two different five year periods, already? UW was another disaster. We need a locally run-clinic that offers a wide range of services, including alternative modalities (ie chiropractic, nutritional education, acupuncture, and movement classes [which are especially good for the elderly.])

Throwing tax dollars at a decision does not solve the problem. We can achieve a healthy community by running the clinic ourselves.

With Island Hospital at the helm, we will likely have as many or more unnecessary airlift flights for people with chest pain. Unnecessary, because we have a cardiologist on Island will all of the equipment needed to diagnose whether or not a particular patient’s pain is due to a heart attack, or one of six other conditions all for which they do not need to be flown off-island. Currently, when the EMTs are called for chest pain the only thing they can do is to fly people off the island, for they don’t have a cardiologist on staff, nor the equipment necessary.

It seems to me that although the board is, I’m sure, hardworking, putting islanders’ health and care in the hands of Island Hospital again is going back to something that didn’t work before. Perhaps, it’s time for the board to rethink what is cost-effective and viable for our island community.

It would be more work, yes, but putting together and funding a coalition of local health care providers, including alternative health care providers, would be the healthier and most cost-effective option for the island. There is even federal funding if this Health Care District and prove that it is serving the low-income community and limiting off island emergency room visits that cost Medicare a lot of money by providing preventative healthcare such as nutritional education, massage, in-home care, acupuncture, chiropractic, movement therapy, etc.

If we can reduce hospital visits by implementing preventative medicine on the island, we will have a healthier population and potential funding from federal grant programs. This seems like the right road to peruse. It may be more work for the board, but it will be worth it, and it will make us all healthier.

Spirit Eagle

Orcas Island