Contributed photo/Kristy TG

50K decision makes sense | Letters

Some recent letters have suggested that the public hospital district commissioners should not fund Planned Parenthood from the $50K reduction the commissioners negotiated in the tax subsidy we provide to PeaceHealth. These letter writers assert there are more important health issues that should be funded.

Under the hospital district’s contract with PeaceHealth the commissioners can submit an annual list of recommendations to PeaceHealth for use of the $1.1M subsidy we taxpayers provide. In January of 2016 the commissioners submitted a list of nine recommended health services for funding from the subsidy. Those services were: 1) restoration of regular service by a locally-based nurse for Coumadin patients; 2) resolving the contractual issues with Anacortes Rosario Skin Clinic so that local patients may once again receive Rosario service here; 3) establishing regularly scheduled clinics for child and adult immunizations; 4) establishing public programs devoted to suicide prevention and mental health services; 5) creating urgent care, as a less costly alternative to the emergency room; 6) an on-site patient ombudsman, as opposed to someone in Vancouver, Washington; 7) a respiratory therapy clinic on a scheduled basis; 8) a pain management program; 9) comprehensive reproductive health services.

The hospital district commissioners made these recommendations to PeaceHealth based on the concerns and questions expressed to them by the district residents and patients of PIMC. PeaceHealth, after conducting their own review, has agreed to address the first eight. The ninth, comprehensive reproductive health services, was addressed by the third amendment to the contract that freed up the $50K for the hospital district to contract for services that fall outside the scope of Peace Health.

Thus, three of the five commissioners, a majority, voted to use the $50K to provide the health services that PeaceHealth cannot or will not provide. This will begin with an effort to contract with Planned Parenthood for these comprehensive reproductive health services. The commissioners’ decision to focus on the services that PeaceHealth can’t or won’t provide makes good sense for our community.

Kerwin Johnson

San Juan Island