At the March 22 meeting, San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1 commissioners unanimously dismissed a resolution and formal complaint to fund certain services (see below) identified on a Peace Island Medical Center health needs assessment.
“I’m not arguing that the services are not necessary, I’m just saying they are services that PeaceHealth will address,” said Williams.
Williams explained that a new organization called the Community Collaborative Committee would oversee the implementation of the requested services, so the hospital district didn’t need to use the $50,000 subsidy reduction allocated to fund services outside PIMC’s scope. It would also breach the last PIMC subsidy amendment.
The committee is comprised of three partners: the PIMC board, public hospital district and county health department.
The needs identified in the assessment include dementia services, hospice care, paramedicine (including fall prevention and visiting services), and curbing tobacco, marijuana and alcohol use for youth. It does not include women’s reproductive services.
A supporter of the services, Commissioner Michael Edwards, voted down the resolution in the hopes of rewriting it after more research was conducted on the amount of money needed to fund each service.
Last month, commissioners passed a resolution to use some of a $50,000 subsidy reduction to draft a contract with the Mount Baker Planned Parenthood’s Friday Harbor location to fund district services.
An amendment, passed last November, allowed the district to take $50,000 from the original PIMC subsidy agreement, to contract with vendors that provide services the hospital refuses. The hospital has been supplemented by a roughly $1 million subsidy, collected from the district’s property taxes, since 2009.
Williams presented a diagram, on a dry erase board, to visualize how the public hospital district recommends services to PIMC. A consortium of health care providers (including Family Resource Centers and EMS) reviews them and the Community Collaborative Committee oversees implementation. The district’s recommendation to provide a full range of reproductive health services, sent last January, couldn’t be provided since PIMC doesn’t offer birth control or elective abortions as a Catholic nonprofit.
“When it came back to us, there was nothing we could do with it. We had no money. We had given all our money for health services to PeaceHealth,” said Williams about the process before the last amendment was passed.
One requested need — tobacco and substance abuse by local youth — will not be addressed by those providers, said Commissioner Michael Edwards; it would be addressed by San Juan Island Prevention Coalition, which is not part of the consortium. He requested a detailed list of services provided by PIMC, as he did at last month’s meeting, to identify services the hospital doesn’t provide, beyond women’s reproductive health care, to augment them.
The formal complaint, suggesting to fund the services, was dismissed based on its inaccuracies.
“The decision to allot the $50,000 of the San Juan County Public Hospital District hospital levy funds to Planned Parenthood is a violation of the San Juan County Public Hospital District code of ethics,” Commission Chairman Bill Williams read the complaint filed by Megan Vivenzio and Michelle Loftus.
Yet, the amount of money allotted and a formal agreement with the provider has yet to be set.
“This complaint has no basis and fact,” said Edwards.
The complaint also accused the three commissioners who passed the resolution of being supported by Planned Parenthood during their campaigns. It was the Planned Parenthood Action Committee that endorsed Williams, Barbara Sharp and herself, said Monica Harrington, which also endorses other political candidates, like both state senators.
Resolution No. 2
Another resolution, tabled from last month’s meeting, to require public comment before board action for “significant matters,” was also discussed. It was referred to Edwards, who wrote the resolution, and Sharp to draft district bylaw changes.
“As far as public comment, I would like that to be a permanent thing. I don’t think it should be decided on the content of the meeting,” said Sharp.
The resolution was first presented before the vote to draft the contract with Planned Parenthood.
The next public hospital meeting is at 5 p.m., April 26, at the county council hearing room.