San Juan Island EMS Signs Agreement with Fire District Regarding Integration

Posted August 8, 2021 at 5:58 am by

The hos­pi­tal dis­trict is hap­py to announce that it has reached agree­ment with San Juan Island Fire and Res­cue to take over Emer­gency Med­ical Ser­vices on our behalf in 2023, pend­ing vot­er approval. “It’s been a long process, but we’re ready to sup­port the Fire Dis­trict tak­ing this to the pub­lic,” said hos­pi­tal dis­trict com­mis­sion­er Gail Leschine-Seitz.

This is sep­a­rate from the hos­pi­tal district’s deci­sion to acquire the Vil­lage at the Har­bor and expand long-term care for Dis­trict res­i­dents via a pro­posed hos­pi­tal dis­trict levy lid lift this fall.

An EMS levy under San Juan Island Fire and Res­cue will be on the bal­lot with an effec­tive date for fund­ing for Jan­u­ary 1, 2023 at $0.50 per $1,000 in assessed val­ue. This will estab­lish fund­ing for the inte­grat­ed ser­vice. The cur­rent San Juan Island EMS levy will be allowed to expire at the end of 2022 rather than being renewed, and there will be no over­lap between the levies.
“We’ve worked hard to say exact­ly what we’re doing and when, and this is con­sis­tent with our roadmap to imple­men­ta­tion passed last March,” said Com­mis­sion­er Trish Lehman. “We’ll use next year for a tran­si­tion­al period.”

This rep­re­sents the cul­mi­na­tion of sev­er­al years of work. A year-long Citizen’s Advi­so­ry Group begin­ning in April 2018 and end­ing April 2019 (and still post­ed pub­licly at out­lined numer­ous ben­e­fits to inte­grat­ing EMS and Fire into one orga­ni­za­tion: improved response times, depth of vol­un­teer resources, uni­fied com­mand struc­ture, sim­pli­fied levy man­age­ment, finan­cial ben­e­fits, and a uni­fied train­ing program.

Many of the steps in the inte­gra­tion process have already been com­plet­ed, most notably, the Fire Dis­trict annexed the out­er islands that the hos­pi­tal dis­trict cov­ers (e.g., Hen­ry, Johns, Stu­art) and suc­cess­ful­ly annexed the Town of Fri­day Har­bor last April. This makes the bound­aries of both dis­tricts the same, facil­i­tat­ing a smooth tran­si­tion for residents.

“One of the excit­ing things about an inte­grat­ed ser­vice is the abil­i­ty to pro­vide bet­ter marine response by pool­ing resources,” said Nathan But­ler, Super­in­ten­dent and cur­rent EMS Admin­is­tra­tor: “The oth­er thing I’m real­ly excit­ed about is sub­stan­tial­ly more staffing depth, with over 15 full-time respon­ders, plus lead­er­ship and vol­un­teers. Dur­ing COVID-19 we couldn’t hold an EMT course to replace attri­tion, and the num­ber of peo­ple on the island is just staggering.”

Doc­u­ments relat­ing to this project can be found at

“This rep­re­sents a big change for the hos­pi­tal Dis­trict, propos­ing the trans­fer of EMS ser­vice to the Fire Dis­trict, and instead expand­ing into long-term care,” said hos­pi­tal dis­trict Com­mis­sion­er Everett Clary. The hos­pi­tal dis­trict also sub­si­dizes Peace Island Med­ical Cen­ter through Peace­Health, a sep­a­rate enti­ty, to ensure oth­er health­care services.

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0