It’s an idea that’s been discussed for decades: one consolidated medical clinic for Orcas Island.
Now, under the leadership of the Orcas Island Health Care District and Island Hospital, that concept is coming to fruition. Starting April 5, Island Primary Care — Orcas will begin serving patients in the medical center building at 7 Deye Lane in Eastsound.
District Superintendent Anne Presson said during an online community meeting on Feb. 18 that the staff of Island Hospital has been working tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition of integrating the two clinics — UW Medicine Orcas Island Clinic and Orcas Family Health Center — into one facility.
“I feel the excitement they have for Orcas and that they want to do it right this time,” Presson said.
She thanked the following community members for their support of “bringing everyone together and expanding services”: Anthony Giefer, Rick Hughes, Hilary Canty, Tom Eversole and Erin O’Dell.
Over the summer, Island Hospital was selected by the OIHCD to offer primary care that includes after-hours care, patient care coordination, family medicine, pediatrics, telemedicine, laboratory and x-ray services. The clinic will have same-day appointments available for acute needs.
The last day of patient care at the UW clinic will be Friday, March 26. From March 27 to April 4, UW Medicine will offer telehealth appointments and OFHC will provide same-day or after-hours for anyone needing to see a provider.
During that week, Island Hospital will be implementing new employee orientation, provider and staff training and IT install and set up. On April 5, in-person visits for Island Primary Care will begin.
Aaimee Johnson, CRHCP, has accepted the position of clinic manager. Johnson has 16 years of leadership in the healthcare industry and is currently the manager of OFHC.
According to Island Hospital CEO Charles Hall, they have signed contracts with Jennifer Utter PA-C and Karen Caley-Orr, PA-C, who both currently work at OFHC. The hospital is discussing contracts with Dr. Camille Fleming, M.D., and Dr. Frank James, M.D. Hall says he is interviewing additional practitioners.
From April to May, four Island Hospital doctors will be rotating through the clinic to provide leadership and patient care until the new providers are fully set up as Island Hospital providers with the insurance companies.
The clinic will have a total of two to three doctors and four nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants. The goal is four full-time practitioners staffing the clinic Monday through Friday. Other staff members include four nurses, a nurse supervisor, two x-ray and lab technicians, four patient appointment coordinators and one patient liaison, which is a new position that will work closely with patients to coordinate care and referrals. Island Hospital is still hiring for some of the staff slots but carrying over many of the current employees from OFHC and UW Medicine.
“You will see a lot of familiar faces when you come in,” said Island Hospital Director of Family Care Clinics Patricia Codd.
Those who are currently patients of UW Medicine or Orcas Family Health Center will be required to complete a medical records release form to transition their care to the new clinic. The form is available at https://www.islandhospital.org/orcas/.
Like UW, Island Hospital offers an online patient portal service. To set up an account, visit www.islandhospital.org/myislandhealth. Paper copies are also available at both UW and OFHC clinics. For portal assistance, email email@example.com.
The next online community briefing is from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, March 18 and will go into depth on the after-hours care model.
“Thank you, everyone. It’s been a long road and we still have a way to go,” Hall said.