Appreciation for Lopez Healthcare Support and Next Steps

Lopez Island Hospital District (LIHD) appreciates community support to pass the multi-year levy lid lift (Proposition #1) and continue funding healthcare subsidies on the island. Your approval of the proposition will help sustain and enhance services at UW Lopez Island Clinic and Lopez Island Physical Therapy, as well as support the future of pharmacy services on Lopez. The increased income will also help in the following ways: buffer rising healthcare costs and unexpected demands; respond to changing community healthcare needs; and assure LIHD funding base through 2029. We can’t thank you enough for your YES vote on the measure. 

Passage of the levy lid lift means LIHD is not limited by a state law requiring no more than a 1% annual increase in tax revenue. This is crucial to maintain the services we currently have on Lopez due to a nationwide increase in healthcare costs of 6–10% annually in recent years. Last spring, those higher costs, plus San Juan County projections for property tax revenue, suggested LIHD should ask for a return to the original tax rate of $.75 per $1,000.00 of assessed property value to respond to increasing healthcare needs and expenses. We’re grateful for the community’s trust in the LIHD’s work to maintain care on Lopez. 

More recent preliminary projections indicate a nearly $2 billion increase in property values county-wide. Thus, with the passage of the levy lid lift, LIHD could collect $1,686,098 in 2024; that’s $306,000 more than is needed to meet LIHD’s 2024 budget. Therefore, for 2024, LIHD has proposed reducing the levy rate from $.75 per $1,000.00 of assessed property valuation to $.62 per $1,000.00 to provide an estimated $1,380,000 in revenue. If costs rise in the five subsequent years, LIHD can request a higher rate up to a maximum of $.75 per $1,000.00. But for now, we’re able to keep money in taxpayers’ pockets and still meet current healthcare costs.  

LIHD is participating in a workgroup organized by UW Medicine to assess Lopez healthcare needs now and into the future. So far, the group has consisted of representatives from UW Medicine (the provider of health care at the Lopez Clinic), Catherine Washburn Medical Association, Lopez Island Hospital District, and Lopez Citizens for Health Care. The levy lid lift approval will provide more resources as healthcare needs and solutions are identified. LIHD and other healthcare partners will keep the community updated about these explorations.  

All meetings of LIHD are open to the public, with regular monthly meetings the 4th Wednesday of the month (adjusted for holidays), from 4-6 pm at the Lopez Island Family Resource Center (Zoom link also available). We welcome public participation in these meetings.