I was troubled when I learned that Drs. Russel and Alperin have chosen not to pursue employment with Island Hospital when it assumes administrative responsibilities on April 1. Clearly, they have every right to define their personal directions, but it is unclear what they intend to do. The whole purpose of establishing a Public Hospital District was the result of the ongoing economic challenges; I.e. no sustainable and reliable funding for the medical center, the inefficiencies of having two independent clinics, the cost of care, and the lack of scope of care (after hours and weekend availability of call). Although we are grateful to the UW for stepping up to manage the medical clinic, they offered a model of care that was costly and still did not meet all of the medical needs that we, the citizens, desired. In the past three years, the PHD Commissioners worked diligently to explore other options, but none of those options came to fruition except the one offered by Island Hospital.
Our historical association with IH has been fraught with conflicts that resulted in their terminating our relationship with them on several past occasions. But the playing field has now changed. We now have a sustainable source of revenue, and IH has new administrative leadership, both of which suggest that our relationship is more viable. The withdrawal of these two physicians certainly complicates the Commissioners agenda with only two months before IH assumes their new responsibilities. In addition, these physicians abandoned their commitment to our community, and the financial responsibilities that we, as taxpayers, made to establish a sustainable, reliable, and excellent health care delivery model.