Long Term Care and the Hospital District

Posted October 12, 2021 at 5:40 am by

We all felt the shock when the Life Care cen­ter in Fri­day Har­bor closed in 2017.

Since then, var­i­ous approach­es have been inves­ti­gat­ed to solve the prob­lem. The hos­pi­tal dis­trict placed a lid lift to its pri­ma­ry levy from approx­i­mate­ly $0.34 to $0.70 per $1,000 in assessed val­ue on the bal­lot this fall to imple­ment a plan broad­ly based on the “Com­mu­ni­ty Long-Term Care Options Task Force,” which met over eight months in 2018.

The task force rec­om­mend­ed “that a mul­ti- lev­el project needs to be devel­oped under a uni­fied umbrel­la uti­liz­ing cur­rent inno­va­tions to address these needs,” which includ­ed a range of things from home care to facil­i­ty care to work­force issues. The idea was to give peo­ple the least expen­sive option first, home care, with expand­ed facil­i­ty sup­ports when home care is inadequate.

The hos­pi­tal dis­trict pro­pos­es to pur­chase the Vil­lage at the Har­bor to serve as the uni­fied umbrel­la rec­om­mend­ed by the task force. If approved, the hos­pi­tal dis­trict plans to use the addi­tion­al funds from the levy lid lift to pur­chase the facil­i­ty, as well as upgrade, update, and expand the facil­i­ty. The hos­pi­tal dis­trict also plans on adding Med­ic­aid beds, as well as a home care com­po­nent so that as many as pos­si­ble can “age in place.” Final­ly, the hos­pi­tal dis­trict plans on sup­port­ing staff by pro­vid­ing med­ical ben­e­fits and retirement.

In 2019, the hos­pi­tal dis­trict helped sup­port a com­pre­hen­sive sur­vey into the need of long-term care with­in its juris­dic­tion. There were rough­ly four hun­dred respon­dents, about half from San Juan Island. Of those, 37% indi­cat­ed that they had tried to access a long-term care ser­vice and were unable to find ade­quate ser­vice. About 23% of the respon­dents need­ed Med­ic­aid sup­port. There are no Med­ic­aid beds or home care ser­vices that take Med­ic­aid on San Juan Island.

The hos­pi­tal dis­trict has two levies. Its pri­ma­ry levy is at about $0.34 per $1,000 in assessed val­ue. For the most part, this sup­ports Peace­Health Peace Island Med­ical Cen­ter (PIMC). The Dis­trict does not oper­ate PIMC, instead it sends them two sub­sidy checks every year. The Dis­trict is propos­ing a lid lift for this pri­ma­ry levy to $0.70, which the hos­pi­tal dis­trict esti­mates will raise suf­fi­cient funds to buy the Vil­lage, expand it, sup­port work­ers, and begin pro­vid­ing some home care ser­vices. This will not affect the District’s com­mit­ment to PIMC one way or the other.

The District’s oth­er levy, its EMS levy, is at about $0.38 per $1,000 in assessed val­ue. Nei­ther the lid lift of the District’s pri­ma­ry levy nor the District’s long-term care plans will affect San Juan Island EMS. The Dis­trict has pro­posed mov­ing its EMS ser­vice to the Fire Dis­trict, and the Fire Dis­trict added an EMS levy to the bal­lot this fall to accom­plish this. The pas­sage or fail­ure of that mea­sure does not impact the District’s long-term care plans.

The hos­pi­tal dis­trict devel­oped a six-year bud­get plan for its long-term care plans, a bud­get and project nar­ra­tive, an FAQ, cost esti­mates for tax­pay­ers, and more on its web­site. https://sjcphd.org/ltc

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