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County pediatrician ending island practice, moving to mainland

After 18 years of providing medical care for the children of San Juan County, pediatrician Jeanne Olmsted has announced that she will no longer maintain a practice based on Orcas Island after Dec. 31.

“Over the years, I have treasured my relationships with my patients, their families and my colleagues at Orcas Medical Center,” Dr. Olmsted said in a press release. “I will miss them all. I thank you all for allowing me to be a part of such an important and intimate part of your lives.

"I have been proud to be a part of this community-oriented medical clinic and am confident of the quality of care you all will continue to receive from my colleagues at Orcas Medical Center, doctors Giefer and Frazer.”

Olmsted said that she has been pondering this decision for some time and that it is the result of increasing challenges of commuting to Orcas Island while maintaining a full-time pediatric practice in Anacortes. Another contributing factor, she said, was increasing medical liability costs resulting from Island Hospital’s recent acquisition of Fidalgo Medical Associates, where Olmsted continues to practice.

Olmsted began practicing pediatrics on Orcas Island in 1990 after moving from the Bay Area in California, where she completed her pediatric residency and practiced for several years. Initially, on Orcas Island, she worked with Dr. Paul Sanders when the medical center was housed in the building that is now the Lower Tavern. When Orcas Island Medical Center was completed, she moved to the current building.

Through the years, Olmsted has consistently maintained her part-time practice of pediatrics on Orcas Island. In fact, she is currently the longest practicing physician on the island and, in recent years, some of her earliest patients have brought their children to her practice.

The Orcas Medical Center will host a reception in Olmsted’s honor on Dec. 17, 3-5 p.m. The reception is open to the public.

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