It was a very full house for the Medical Providers Forum last night at the Fire Hall; over 100 people in the audience and a full slate of providers including Dr. Shinstrom and Aimee Johnson from the Orcas Family Health Center, Dr. Alprin and Debra Gussin (by phone) from the UW Clinic, Chief Scott Williams from Orcas Fire and Rescue, and Leslie Murdock and Kevin Walstrom from the Orcas Medical Foundation. They provided a very clear and detailed explanation of the current structure of our practices, how urgent and emergent care is currently managed and what the extent of the financial gap was between the cost of providing services and the reimbursement rate from Medicaid, Apple Care and private health insurance. I have figured that the current structure (with limited after hours care) requires approximately $750,000 in philanthropic support annually and that number was confirmed last night (the maximum tax rate of 75 cents per $1000 assessed value allowed for a Public Hospital District (PHD) would generate $1.6M annually). More info on the PHD is outlined on the Coalition for Orcas Health Care website.

OMF and the UW confirmed that if the PHD failed, they would enter a six month wind down and plan on shuttering the clinic by October. While the Orcas Family Health Center did not have such a tight time frame, they also concurred that sustaining the practice without the PHD was no longer possible-hard to hear, but very clear. The ballots will be mailed out next week and must be returned and postmarked by April 24.

I am delighted to introduce our newest Staff member, Megan Neal. Megan and her family moved to Orcas three years ago and she has been an active volunteer with both the Funhouse and Children’s House. Megan will work part time and manage our facilities, assist with events and provide program support.  If you have a chance, swing by the office and introduce yourself. With this hire, OICF now employs three part-time staff and one full-time (me). Given the amount of grantmaking and the number of transactions we manage annually, it is quite a lean staffing model. Fortunately, the platform that Chris Sutton developed for us has allowed us to grow exponentially without having to increase staffing at the same speed.

Wishing you all a lovely Passover, Easter, and Spring. The sun is out and the birds are rejoicing.

All the best-

P.S. The Spring Ferry Schedule starts Sunday, on April Fool’s Day.  No joking!