Board Update

At their meeting on July 24th, the LIHD Board reviewed the substantial amount of data, input, feedback and suggestions provided in the 2019 Community Survey on Health Care. The Board Meeting Materials contained some highlights from the survey itself.

Over 150 participants completed a paper version of the survey at the June 19th meeting, and almost 60 Lopezians completed the online version. A summary report can be viewed by clicking on this link:  2019 Health Care Survey: Summary report.

In addition to the charts, there are hundreds of comments that are not part of the posted  report. This information will be shared with the other healthcare stakeholders including: UW Medicine Lopez Clinic, Lopez Island Pharmacy, Lopez Island Family Resource Center, Cathy Doherty, Lopez Island Physical Therapy, and CWMA. Together with Lopez Island Fire & EMS, we will be reviewing the feedback with the various stakeholders to determine how it impacts each other’s plans and strategies. The information that comes from those discussions will be shared in future posts.

In response to a few questions asking why the LIHD embarked on the Community Meeting and Health Care survey, it’s helpful to understand a little bit about Public Hospital Districts and the work of the LIHD.

One of the major goals the Lopez Island Hospital District set out to accomplish this year was to gather feedback from the community to help inform the District’s short- and long-term planning. The Commissioners felt it was important to solicit feedback to make sure health care services continue to meet the needs of the population served, especially as the Board approaches the September 2020 contract renewal with UW Medicine. Understanding the types of services the community values will help inform discussions, and will be taken into consideration as both parties determine appropriate services and subsidies for the next three-year contract term.

In addition to the work with UW Medicine, the Board is bound to exercise their powers as spelled out in the Revised Code of WA (RCW) for Public Hospital Districts (PHD). One of those powers, as stated in RCW 70.44.060(1), is to “survey existing hospital and other health facilities to determine the health care needs of the District residents”. Based on results of the survey, the RWC goes on to state that “Commissioners adopt a plan to meet those health care needs”. While these activities are part of the PHD’s powers, the manner in which a PHD is to conduct such activities is not spelled out in much detail in the statutes.

In early 2019, the LIHD Board began to think about the best way to approach the survey process. This included engaging various organizations to gather feedback and suggestions. At the same time, Lopez Island Fire and EMS (LIFE) was approaching the end of their current 10-year plan and beginning their strategic planning process for the next 10 years. The LIHD and LIFE Boards had already begun working together on several key initiatives to address changes in health care that had an impact on the community. Building on that work, the Boards decided to work together to gain community feedback on the overall state of health care services and support on Lopez Island.

Please look for the next edition of HealthMatters 2.0 that will be published in the August 6th issue of the Islands’ Weekly. The Commissioners and Superintendent continue to appreciate the active and ongoing engagement of the community in these important health care conversations.