Hospital district announces intent to acquire the Village at the Harbor

Submitted by the San Juan County Hospital District No. 1.

The skilled nursing facility owned by Life Care Centers of America closed at the end of 2017. It had more than seventy beds and held the majority of the Medicaid patients in San Juan County. It left one assisted living facility on San Juan Island: the Village at the Harbor, a private pay institution with 36 beds.

“It was like the earth cracked open within two months for those that were displaced, many of whom did not do well upon relocation,” said Commissioner Trish Lehman. “It was heartbreaking. It’s why I ran for office, to try and solve this problem. The public has repeatedly asked us to address this.”

San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1 would like to announce that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire the Village at the Harbor. This service will be acquired and significantly expanded, if funded, via a levy lid lift this fall. The plan is to:

• Provide beds for Medicaid residents. We will immediately subsidize 4 – 6 Medicaid beds. In the next few years, we will add more capacity.

• Support wages and benefits to be able to retain staff. Staff turnover is particularly hard for memory care patients who need familiar faces.

• Create a first-of-its kind care coordination and home-based program to support aging in place that will enable seniors to live in their homes longer.

• Pay for a bond to pay for the acquisition of the Village at the Harbor. Maintenance on this bond is expected to be about $310,000 per year over twenty years to pay for the $4.8 million purchase.

“Our mission at the Village after the Life Care center’s closure has been to help people as best we can, and we’ve essentially become a nonprofit without ever making that formal change,”

said Village Administrator Evan Perrollaz. “We felt that by partnering with the public hospital district that we could really focus on our core mission of caring for more people.”

It’s important for current residents of the Village at the Harbor and their families to know that their services will continue.

As our county ages, it is critical to expand the level of care that we can provide and ensure that there are trained staff able to provide care and live in the county. “It makes much more sense to take an existing business with staff, facility, residents, Department of Health license, and pool resources rather than open a second, separate facility,” said Commissioner Gail Leschine- Seitz.

A levy lid lift from about $0.34 per $1,000 in assessed value to $0.70 will cost a property owner with a $500,000 property about $180 more per year. “We should be able to do this, while still subsidizing Peace Island Medical Center, for about what is paid individually by Orcas and Lopez hospital district residents for their clinics,” said Superintendent Nathan Butler. “I think what enables us to do this first-of-a-kind project is that county residents are asking for these services and see their need. Ultimately, it’s up to the public to vote on the measure this November.”

Contributed photo