Long-term care task force forms | Guest Column

Long-term care task force forms | Guest Column

by Evan Perrollaz, Janice Fisher, Beth Williams-Geiger, Beth Helstien, Deanna Osborne, Kyle Davies, Kathryn Clary, Julia Thompson, Dennis King, Pamela Hutchins and Carrie Unpingco

Task force members

A community long-term care options task force has been formed to address the crisis created by the closure of the Life Care Center of the San Juan Islands.

We are asking for donations and looking for passionate people who have shared their concerns about the lack of long-term care options in our county and are ready to partner with us to make this new vision of health care a reality.

The task force has developed options that we have identified as being important and beneficial to the community. These options include micro-nursing homes based off the Green House Project model, affordable housing for low-income seniors, tele-health and social work programs, along with home health and home care alternatives. In order for the next phase of our development to occur, the decision has been reached that we require a feasibility study to outline the following:

• Further determine the magnitude and extent of long-term care service needs on each island and identification of programs to address the needs and currently available reimbursements.

• Expected capital, start-up and staffing requirements and analysis of the costs and revenues associated with each proposed program.

• Establish potential governance and organizational options for the service/ program development.

This feasibility study is crucial in the planning process and will be used to continue the development of the aforementioned programs. The same company that was involved with the planning for the hospital, Health Facilities Planning and Development, has been approached to create the study for development of a sustainable community-based long-term care delivery system in the county. The expected cost of this study is estimated to be approximately $50,000. This study is vital in our efforts to restore and expand crucial medical facilities and programs to the county.

The Inter Island Healthcare Foundation has agreed to act as the financial agent for our forthcoming fundraising efforts. These efforts will not only be used for the initial feasibility study but will eventually expand into expected construction and operating costs associated with our finalized plans. The foundation initially started as the Inter Island Medical Center Corporation in 1955 and ultimately morphed into its current form in 1991, becoming the Inter Island Healthcare Foundation.

San Juan County has the opportunity to create and mold services to our unique community and now is the time to push forward toward these goals. With an aging population, our needs continue to grow. This feasibility study will allow us the opportunity to gather crucial data and information necessary to create this new model of health care. Our efforts begin on a grassroots platform, designed to achieve our initial goal of raising $50,000 to initiate this vital step in the process.

For any specific question or concerns, please feel free to email us at info@interislandhealthcare.org, or you can call Evan Perrollaz at 360-378-7144 (Village at the Harbour). You can also go to the IIHF website at interislandhealthcare.org for further information or to donate.