A Community Website by Lopez Island
Posted by Lopez Citizens For Health Care
Lopez Island
Sep 18, 2023
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Health Care on Lopez
Sep 18, 2023
The purpose of this memo is to focus our attention on the need to broaden the scope of health care on Lopez. It is not meant to criticize any of the people who work at our Clinic or add to their level of stress, their responsibilities or their work hours.

Mission of LCHC
Lopez Citizens for Health Care (LCHC) is a group of Lopez Island residents who have come together to address what we see as gaps in health care services provided to Lopezians. Our mission is to gather information from citizens, local and regional health providers and service organizations to develop specific proposals that will improve the quality and quantity of health care delivered on Lopez Island and to broaden the scope of care available to all. Our hope is to work with the Lopez Island Hospital District Commissioners to accomplish our goals. We have no intention (or power) of changing any Clinic staff or operations.

What LCHC recommends:
1. Lopez Island needs a strong and appropriately-resourced Clinic to serve the non-acute health care needs of the entire population of Lopez Island. With the ferry service becoming less reliable than ever before, we are going to need more care available locally.
A) Our Clinic should be operated as a “Rural clinic” rather than as an “Urban clinic” as it is now under UW Medicine’s supervision. Options and possible waivers need to be explored.
B) Our Clinic needs to maintain a level of staffing (non-virtual) sufficient to care for the population of Lopez Island and to reduce to an absolute minimum the amount of off-island health care.
C) Our Clinic needs to serve everyone on this island, including children, non-English speakers, and the medically uninsured.
D) LCHC takes no position on which health care system should operate the Clinic at this time, but encourages the Lopez Island Health District Commissioners (LIHDC) to negotiate for contracts with third parties who operate the Clinic that meet the Island’s holistic health care needs at a reasonable cost.

2. Lopez Island needs access to after-hours and urgent care to minimize the burden on the Island’s small and volunteer-supported EMS and reduce the number of residents being flown off island for care.
A) There should be after-hours urgent care with a clinic provider available or on call until 9 pm every day to interact with EMS and patients.
B) Minor injuries (sprains, cuts.etc) should be treated on-island as appropriate.

3. LCHC encourages the Lopez Island community to work together to creatively fund the type of health care we all need.
LCHC takes no official position on the upcoming Health District Levy Lift proposal, but encourages the LIHDC to clearly explain to voters:
A) Whether the entirety of Levy funds will be used to subsidize the University of Washington’s operation of the Clinic or whether funds will be available to support other services and how these will be prioritized;
B) How the LIHD will enforce a minimum level of coverage and quality for providers paid with public funds;
C) What steps LIHD is taking to learn from lessons on the other San Juan Islands and use these to improve health care on Lopez;
D) LCHC will investigate options for grants from the government and private foundations to fill gaps in funding for critical services.

Thank you.
LCHC: Dixie Budke, Corey Casper, Cathy Doherty, Larry Eppenbach, Jim Ghiglione, Connie Harris, Carol Hendel, Larry Hendel, Becky Smith, James Smith, Ingrid Stuiver