A new model of after-hours care will soon be available to islanders.
Island Hospital held its third online meeting on March 18 regarding the upcoming clinic merger, covering details about what patients can expect if they need medical attention during non-business hours.
“Our community has been struggling to find a solution of good health care … that didn’t just stop after 5 p.m.,” said Charles Hall, IH superintendent and CEO.
On April 5, Island Primary Care — Orcas will begin serving patients in the medical center building at 7 Deye Lane in Eastsound. Orcas Island Health Care District and Island Hospital have been overseeing the integration of UW Medicine Orcas Island Clinic and Orcas Family Health Center into one practice.
Hall said the entities’ collaborative vision includes primary care, specialty care, telemedicine, after-hours services, EMS collaboration, community education, emergency preparedness and COVID-19 care management.
Once Island Primary Care opens, when you call after-hours, you will be connected to one of five Island Hospital physicians to walk you through the next steps. Patients are asked to call the main clinic line — 360-293-3101 — where an answering service will have a physician return your inquiry. From there, the issue will be resolved via a phone consult, contacting EMS or meeting an on-call doctor at the clinic.
San Juan County Health Officer Dr. Frank James will serve as the clinic’s medical director and see patients. Additional staff members include physician Jon Peterson, pediatrician Brandon Greene, women’s health physician Kathy Garde and physician assistants Jennifer Utter and Karen Caley-Orr. Aaimee Johnson is clinic manager, Shila Wachtel has been hired as clinic supervisor and Neisha Grams is the patient liaison. By 2022, two more physicians and PAs will be hired.
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 and four patient appointment coordinators.
“The thing that attracted me to this is the strong partnership between the hospital district and Island Hospital,” James said. “Together we can build a solid foundation of health care on Orcas … my vision is that we really care about patients’ health and not just disease management.”
From April to May, Island Hospital doctors Jason Hogge, Michael Gravatt and Les Conway and physician assistant Susan Jordan will be rotating through the clinic to provide leadership and patient care until the new providers are fully set up.
IH Director of Family Care Clinics Patricia Codd outlined the following services that will be available as soon as the clinic opens: primary and same-day appointments, preventative care, chronic condition management, acute care, lab work, COVID-19 testing, diagnostic testing, immunizations, prenatal services and clinical nursing services. Future specialty care includes pediatrics, women’s services, urology services, general surgery follow-up, gastroenterology, psychiatry and behavioral health and a COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
The last day of patient care at the UW clinic is 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.
Patients can schedule appointments by calling 360-293-3101. Patient appointments will be scheduled for April 5 and beyond. Patients will initially see an Island Hospital transition provider until they can establish care with a permanent Island Primary Care provider. 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 www.islandhospital.org/orcas/. They are also available at either Orcas clinic.