Skunk Cabbage in Moran State Park

Today marks the last day of the UW Clinic on Orcas. We are, as a community, faced with a big decision on how to move forward. We can either decide to follow our current doctors into private practices, or we can support the solution that the Orcas Health Care District researched and recommended and join the Island Hospital Clinic.

Our local dental services offer a good example of what might occur if we decide to move to private practices. We have three skilled dental practices. For those who can afford it or who have dental insurance that they will accept, it is a good system that offers choices. But for those who rely on Medicaid, Apple Health, or who simply cannot afford care, they have to go off-island for care or hope to get an appointment on the philanthropically-supported dental vans (MTI and the Smile Mobile) for care or access the quarterly day of extraction services generously contributed by Dr Triplett. It is not an ideal situation.

A healthy community needs access to medical (and dental and mental health) care for all of its citizens. As a remote and rural community, Orcas cannot support a multitude of options. We simply do not have the population to do so. Our community spans the economic range and many neighbors rely on Medicaid. The best way to ensure that we all have access to care locally is to have an entity that is open to serving the entire range of the community. My understanding is that the Island Hospital Clinic will do that. I sure hope we give it a shot.

Speaking of shots, the eligibility for vaccines opened up today as well. Read the current status for San Juan County. The OIFC clinic opened sign-up on Monday for 200 shots on Friday and Saturday. As of Thursday, some spaces were still available. This indicates that we have either done a GREAT job getting folks in, or we may need more outreach to some of our isolated neighbors or face some vaccine hesitancy from others. Let’s hope we’ve done great!

Finally, there is a rally on March 27th at 1 pm on the Village Green to stand against anti-Asian violence. Hope to see you there. Stay well.