Orcas Medical Foundation fundraising successful

Orcas Medical Foundation successfully raised $750,000 toward getting University of Washington Neighborhood Clinics to take over the medical center.

“We’ve met our goal,” said OMF Board Treasurer Douglas Ellis. “We’re in talks with the University of Washington about the next steps.”

In September 2016, Island Hospital chose to not renew its contract with Orcas Medical Center, which has been operating at a deficit for several years.

Announced during a Nov. 16 meeting, UWNC proposed to take over the Orcas Medical Center practice on July 1, 2017. However, before UWNC fully committed to Orcas Island, the medical foundation was tasked with raising the money to convert the clinic’s records to UWNC’s digital service, Epic. The cost of the transition was estimated to be between $300,000 and $350,000. Additionally, UWCN required the foundation to have a $300,000 cushion prepared to cover the clinic’s projected deficit. The fundraising goal was set for Jan. 15.

The figure of $300,000 is a maximum amount that OMF is expected to pay to cover possible revenue shortfalls each year. The UWNC plan is to operate on a conservative fiscal basis and grow the practice only as volume grows.

“Our average (deficit) over the past three years – including after hours care – was $122,000, which OMF has put up to provide a break-even situation from Island Hospital,” OMF Board Member Bill Tudor told The Sounder in December. “The number of $300,000 – which is a cap – is being looked at incorrectly as being what we need to ante up.”

Ellis said that the OMF board and UWNC had another meeting on Friday, Jan. 20 to discuss how the partnership will proceed.

Island Hospital also withdrew from The Lopez Island Medical Clinic in September. The clinic has since garnered enough support from the community to approach the San Juan County Council with a request to have a hospital district measure on the April ballot (for more information, see article on page 10).

“Really, everybody on the island wants improved healthcare and more up-to-date and integrated with mainstream medicine – but there are obstacles to that,” said Tudor to The Sounder in December. “What we’re really trying to do is overcome that by just getting information out, answering questions and probably equally importantly try to correct the misinformation.”