Election Results and the Hospital District

Posted November 10, 2021 at 5:48 am by

The fol­low­ing was sub­mit­ted by SJI Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict #1…

We want to thank the pub­lic for their trust in fund­ing the expan­sion of long-term care on San Juan Island. The pas­sage of the hos­pi­tal district’s lid lift opens fund­ing to acquire the Vil­lage at the Har­bor, expand it to pro­vide 20 — 30 Med­ic­aid beds, invest in staff and facil­i­ties, and build home care pro­grams. The pub­lic also vot­ed to keep San Juan Island EMS under the hos­pi­tal district.

The Novem­ber elec­tion con­tin­ues the District’s role in pre­hos­pi­tal care through its oper­a­tion of San Juan Island EMS, hos­pi­tal care through its finan­cial sup­port for Peace­Health Peace Island Med­ical Cen­ter, and adds long-term care through acquir­ing and oper­at­ing the Vil­lage at the Harbor.

“It’s intim­i­dat­ing, to be frank,” added Super­in­ten­dent Nathan But­ler. “The Board will need to make some deci­sions about how to move for­ward after the elec­tion results, espe­cial­ly regard­ing EMS. Mean­while, I’ve had a front row seat to the sub­stan­tial need for long-term care ser­vices, and I’m glad we will have the resources to invest in bet­ter out­comes for the public.”

“We start­ed get­ting calls ask­ing for help almost as soon as the ink was dry on our announce­ment with the hos­pi­tal dis­trict,” said Vil­lage at the Har­bor Admin­is­tra­tor Evan Per­rol­laz. “Actu­al­ly, I’ve had to deal with so many des­per­ate sit­u­a­tions since Life Care closed, it’s a relief to have solu­tions on the table.”

Com­mis­sion­er Gail Les­chine-Seitz pitched in: “A cou­ple of us sat down last May, and we just start­ed brain­storm­ing – what can we do to solve this prob­lem? We thought, ‘well, we could sub­si­dize some Med­ic­aid beds at the Vil­lage,’” she said. “The prob­lem was that it becomes a quag­mire when you add fund­ing to a for-prof­it business.”

Things picked up pace from then. The cit­i­zen group tasked with deter­min­ing what should be done after the clo­sure of the Life Care cen­ter in 2017 had pro­posed a cen­tral enti­ty to pro­vide an expand­ed range of ser­vices. Since then, that rec­om­men­da­tion had just been sit­ting untouched.

“We thought the Vil­lage at the Har­bor would be a per­fect fit to serve as a sort of nexus for these ser­vices, and they proved recep­tive,” said Les­chine-Seitz. “It would mean a sig­nif­i­cant change for them though: pro­vid­ing Med­ic­aid beds, serv­ing as an edu­ca­tion­al cen­ter, pro­vid­ing home care – it would be a dif­fer­ent type of entity.”

It would be far more than facil­i­ty care. “Adding a home care and aging-in-place com­po­nent was real­ly key, and one of the things that excit­ed peo­ple the most,” said Com­mis­sion­er Trish Lehman, who was just elect­ed for anoth­er six-year term as a com­mis­sion­er. “Nobody plans to end up in a facil­i­ty, most want to age in their homes.”

“It’s the most excit­ed I’ve been since tak­ing office as a com­mis­sion­er,” said Board Chair Anna Lisa Lind­strum. “I’m espe­cial­ly excit­ed to take bet­ter care of long-term care employ­ees, giv­ing them ben­e­fits for the first time and cre­at­ing a more sta­ble work­force. I’m so excit­ed for our com­mu­ni­ty! The whole plan excites me.”

Learn more at www.sjcphd.org/ltc

San Juan Coun­ty Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict No. 1 will be clos­ing its deal with the Vil­lage at the Har­bor on Feb­ru­ary 28, 2022. It cur­rent­ly oper­ates San Juan Island EMS and pays a large sub­sidy to sup­port Peace­Health Peace Island Med­ical Center.

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