Yes to hospital district | Letters

When Jim and I bought our property on Orcas in 1977, our younger son, Andrew, was just 3 years old.

Now, 40 years later, Andrew and his wife Emily live on the island and have a 3-year-old son, James. Their older child, 5-year-old Alma was born with serious health challenges in 2012. Andrew and Emily were so uneasy about bringing her back to the island due to the unsure and unstable health care options that they stayed in Seattle with their new baby until she was two months old. Another of our sons, Eric, also lives on the island and his son Zane is here a lot. With three generations of Youngrens living on Orcas, our medical needs are many and varied. We all support a medical taxing district that would provide stable and high-quality primary and urgent care, 24/7.

Similar efforts have been made in the past but the new and VERY INCLUSIVE approach this time is that financial assistance will be available to ALL currently existing primary and urgent care practices. This is a very positive change and one that I think we all can support, regardless of our choice of practitioners.

Currently, our family seeks much more than half of our medical services at off-island facilities. When we or our kids go off island for treatment, the expenses add up: ferry tickets, meals, gas and sometimes even lodging. The money we spend on these occasions would more than equal the money we will pay in increased taxes to support the medical district.

I was surprised to hear that the good folks of Lopez voted overwhelmingly (83 percent in favor) last spring to create a medical district. I can’t quite believe Lopez beat us to the punch by making the very important decision to support access to high-quality medical care for everyone on their island. Come on, Orcas, you know how we hate it when Lopez beats us at anything!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have stable, predictable and sustainable health care services on our island, too?

Let’s do this!

Kathy Youngren

Orcas Island