Q&A with San Juan County Public Hospital District 1 candidates

Anna Lisa Lindstrum and John Manning are running for San Juan County Public Hospital District 1 Commissioner 2. The position is non-partisan, with a six-year term.

With the Nov. 7 general election on the horizon, the Journal asked the port candidates a few questions.

For more information, visit www.sanjuanco.com/1221/Elections-Office.

Anna Lisa Lindstrum

Journal: What makes you the best candidate for hospital commissioner?

AL: I believe I am the best candidate for Hospital Commissioner because, like many of you, I am deeply concerned about what is happening to healthcare on a national level, and how it effects our local community. I believe communities are successful when they have access to affordable healthcare, EMS services and skilled nursing care.

My personal experiences have also led me to run for commissioner. I have a degree in sociology, I have worked as a CNA in a residental family home for adults with developmental disabilities. My husband and I have been lucky to live here for almost 18 years. I have been a patient of Planned Parenthood and I received my prenatal care at the old Med Center. I am a passionate supporter of Planned Parenthood, and I am honored and humbled that they have endorsed my campaign for commissioner. I am glad that our Planned Parenthood office is on healthier financial ground, as it is an essential resource for residents of our hospital district.

I manage a small business here on the island at in the summer we have up to 40 employees. I care deeply about the healthcare they receive. I am concerned that many of them are without affordable health care.

Like most of you here, I have direct experience caring for family members. I understand how hard end of life care is. It can be all messy, difficult, and painful. Our local hospice services are wonderful, and I believe in death with dignity.

Journal: What are the three greatest needs in our community and how should we prioritize them?

AL: The first priority is the closing of our Life Care Center. Families trying to figure out best way to care for their loved ones, and 60 skilled and caring people losing their jobs. I am inspired by the response from the community and the rapid creation of a task force. We can work together, to connect people, make care better and find a solution. I understand how important this is and how it affects island families.

Next is the sustainability of our EMS services. Our island is uniquely dependent on our EMS. Our EMS is world class, and I applaud our Chief for his involvement in with North Sound ACH and support his efforts for more funding for community paramedicine. I look forward to working with Chief Martin to make EMS be as strong as they can be.

Lastly, ensuring affordable emergency care for our community. I support the contract that is now in place with our hospital, and I hope to be part of continuing the positive changes Bill, Monica and Barbara have created for our hospital district. I want to work together with PIMC to ensure quality affordable healthcare.

John Manning

Journal: What makes you the best candidate for hospital commissioner?

JM: I believe that my skills and experience make me the best candidate for Juan County Hospital District #1 Commissioner.

I have more than 40 years working in public health programs including 20 years as Director of Health and Community Services for San Juan County. This experience included managing a staff of over 30 people, budgets totaling over 4 million dollars, and providing a broad array of services ranging from Women Infant and Children (WIC) programs to environmental health programs to Senior Lunches.

One of the major duties of the Hospital Commission is the oversight of Emergency Medical Services. I served for over 5 years as Health Planner for the State of Alaska Section of Emergency Medical Services as well a qualifying as a nationally registered EMT. I believe this past experience has provided me with a good starting point in understanding the operations, vision and needs of EMS and the EMS staff on San Juan Island.

I have a depth of experience analyzing and managing complex budgets, involving federal and state grants and the requirements associated with receiving government funds. During my tenure as a director with San Juan County, I worked with my staff to keep those functions prioritized by the County’s citizens, such as Senior Services, funded even during difficult budget years. I believe this experience will be invaluable in improving transparency in the Peace Health and EMS budgets.

My experience will also help in determining how to proceed in a fiscally responsible way maintaining convalescent care on the island. For example as Director of Health and Community Services I managed the purchase of what was (then known as) the Windemere Building for use by the County’s Human Services group. Through strategic sales of existing properties, grant writing and budgeting, we were able to purchase the building with minimal use of County current funds and no increase to taxes.

Journal: What are the three greatest health needs in our community and how should we prioritize them?

JM: I believe that maintaining a high level of emergency medical care in the district is the number one priority for the community. This includes not only ambulance services but the critical care provided by the Hospital Emergency Room. With our island logistics emergency medical care is a vital service.

The impending closure of the Life Care center is a major concern. The availability of convalescent care on island is essential to the quality of life on the island. Folks who have lived here for any length of time have all had friends or relatives receiving care here. Allowing these services to leave our community on a permanent basis is not an acceptable solution.

Also of major concern are issues concerning the contract with Peace Health. I believe it is the commissioners’ responsibility to continue to negotiate needed changes to the contract that will address health needs important to our county, such as end-of-life and women’s reproductive health care and services. We are fortunate to have an excellent Planned Parenthood clinic on the island to address women’s reproductive health services, in lieu of those services currently not addressed by Peace Health.