Nearly three years ago we confronted the closure of the Vashon Island scientific sanatorium, while CHI Franciscan left Vashon. We faced the frightening prospect of the restrained clinical provider with dealing with the broken arm, the flu or the various other day-to-day clinical desires of our island population.
We may have had severely reduced hospital treatment to be had for those on Medicare or Medicaid, for the uninsured or people with strict 0.33-celebration coverage rules. Fortunately, this capability crisis changed into prevented, and the closure of the hospital became confined to a duration of weeks due to the efforts of many people running at the islands’ behalf. The high-quality outpouring of community help allowed Neighborcare Health to reopen the medical institution and begin presenting services on an extended time table.
It is clear nearly three years later that Neighborcare Health cannot sustain the monetary load of offering medical institution services on the island even in a lean and fundamental carrier model. As is the case in maximum communities in Washington, supplementary finances are required to help primary medical service levels. This is especially proper in rural regions along with ours. Significant and sustainable funding is needed to supply correctly sturdy offerings of the type that our community needs and wants. As different groups have found out, even considerable foundational help and fundraising activities are not sustainable sufficient to draw and preserve the offerings which might be needed.
I believe the answer to obtaining sufficient, sustainable investment, and to do it in the maximum equitable manner, is to create a public taxing district. A district is the most effective means by which we can be capable of continuing to have a medical clinic supplying sustainable primary care services on hand using all of the contributors of our island network. A district also allows island citizens to take manage of the clinical services offered at the island and to grow to be empowered to trade or beautify facilities inside the methods that first-class match the desires of the island now and in the destiny. For this cause, I am asking Vashon and Maury Island residents to consider supporting the formation of a public health center district – and it will require a vote island huge.
No one is suggesting that we build a health facility on the island. We do no longer have the population or affected person load to assist the sort of facility. The words “health center district” are words which can be required underneath State of Washington regulation for corporations of the kind we are discussing. We could virtually be forming a public health district run by using commissioners responsive and responsible to the island who could have the authority to bargain for, help and manipulate specific scientific offerings at the island. This might be a dramatic change from the recent beyond (and current) exercise of setting the decisions approximately a way to provide care for islanders within the arms of external fitness agencies.
To make sure, there are demanding situations posed by the establishment of a district supported by way of property tax revenues. Current local belongings taxes had been close to the maximum quantity assessable using regulation, and even as rising belongings values have created a little little bit of economic room to paintings with, there isn’t enough to be had the tax revenue to aid the most quantity every taxing district could legally take. It will be important for public clinic district commissioners to paintings collectively with different areas to prioritize wishes and to decide how the budget is allotted. It is essential for the network to interact in one’s discussions as correctly. The fact that islanders are wary of growing belongings taxes ought to now not be disregarded. However, the fee of pronouncing no to a district will all over again place the clinic in jeopardy.
Let’s be clean. This is not about any precise issuer, even though we are grateful for those like Neighborcare Health, who came to us in our time of want. Whether you’re glad about contemporary carrier tiers otherwise you preference enhancements, we are presently on a monetary route to neither.
Neighborcare Health cannot and should not hold to sustain financial losses that they need to subsidize from offers and programs acquired for use in other groups, and there aren’t every other group waiting at the back of them to take on the one’s losses. As someone with 18 years of experience in King County and Olympia, I can assure you that we can not anticipate the county or the state to begin to meet our monetary or health desires accurately. There is no one coming to shop us if we do now not act to help ourselves, and the manner to do that may be a public health center district.
Please don’t forget including your name to the petitions you will soon see circulating. Ask questions and have interaction in a verbal exchange along with your pals and pals approximately our islands’ destiny.
— Sharon Nelson, who lives in Gold Beach, is the island’s former nation senator.