Can Healthcare be Compared?

UW Medicine Lopez Clinic (Lopez Clinic) and Island Health Primary Care-Orcas Island (Orcas Clinic) provide healthcare to their respective islanders. Can the provision of healthcare be compared between the Lopez Clinic and Orcas Clinic?  

Both Lopez and Orcas have voter supported property tax levies to provide healthcare. The State of Washington defines these entities as Public Hospital Districts, despite the fact some, like Lopez and Orcas, do not actually own or operate a hospital. Both Lopez and Orcas Hospital Districts have contractual agreements with agencies who deliver care, UW Medicine and Island Health, respectively. 

 Here the similarities end. There are many differences between the two districts such as the fiscal contractual agreement, staffing models, transparency of quality-of-care data, infrastructure support and models of after-hours care. These differences make direct comparisons difficult or potentially misleading.  

Below are facts that are available as public information.  


2010 census 

2,383  5,387 

2020 census 

3,156 6,000 

Percent Increase 

32% 11% 
Hospital District tax dollars Spent for 2022* $921,572 $2,042,336 

Tax dollars/person 

$292 $340 
Staffing models ** 3 full-time providers 6 providers (some part time) 
Contractual agreement Supplement based on actual expenses with a negotiated cap Flat line thru 2025 
After hours care Virtual care by UW providers daily, 8 am to 8 pm; after hours consulting nurse service by phone to UW providers, 24/7, with follow up by UW physicians as indicated. On-call by “Island Hospital provider by telephone providing advice” 24/7 

Quality data 

Provided quarterly thru a quality committee, reports available on website Unable to find data 

*Includes all expenses incurred by the Hospital District including loan payments.  

** Staffing as of fall 2023.