UW Medicine prepares for Orcas Island clinic transition | Letter

UW Medicine has been proud to provide high-quality primary care at the Orcas Island Clinic for the past three years. As your partners in health, we have been dedicated to delivering patient-centered care and bringing new services and health technology to the community.

Earlier this year, the Orcas Island Health Care District issued a request for proposals to combine UW Medicine Orcas Island Clinic and Orcas Family Health Center under a single clinic model. At the time, we informed the commissioners that we were absolutely committed to managing the Orcas Island Clinic under our current agreement. We also informed them that we were not in a position to take on a major new project, such as consolidating both clinics, at this time due to the extraordinary demands on our health system related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the recent decision by the OIHCD to accept Island Health’s consolidation proposal, UW Medicine is preparing for a smooth transition of clinic operations. We will continue to manage the clinic under our current contract while the details and timing of the transition are finalized. Until then, we remain fully dedicated to our Orcas Island care team and our patients, especially with the likely resurgence of the pandemic this winter.

While we are disappointed to be leaving Orcas Island, we support the goal of the hospital district to increase operational efficiencies. We are also pleased to announce that we will remain in the San Juans with a new three-year agreement to manage the Lopez Island Clinic.

It has been our great privilege to serve the Orcas Island community, and we are grateful for the opportunity.

Debra Gussin

Associate Vice President, Primary Care and Population Health, UW Medicine

Executive Director, UW Neighborhood Clinics