Hospital district is solution to island’s health care problems

Hospital district

There is solution to island’s health care problems

This October, islanders will receive a ballot from King County to vote on a proposed island-based public hospital district. A public hospital district is a tax-supported health district with elected commissioners who plan, create and maintain health services in a community with input from community members. Those services are developed to meet the specific needs and financial resources of that community, but do not specifically refer to a hospital.

The commissioners will also be on the ballot. The five commissioners you elect will evaluate Vashon Island’s long-term health care needs, assess funding mechanisms and eventually manage the Vashon Island Hospital District funds.

As many islanders know, health care on Vashon has been both challenging and largely unsustainable for decades. Highline, CHI Franciscan and Neighborcare have offered basic primary care, but without community funding have been unable to continue long-term. Establishing a local, tax-funded district has provided a sustainable, long-term option for other rural communities in Washington dtate.

Having a health district on Vashon would mean giving islanders a voice in their own health care. Access to basic health care needs would be available and could include prenatal care during pregnancy, management of chronic disease and simple urgent care. As a physician, I urge you to vote “yes” to approve the King County public hospital district levy. A “yes” vote will make basic medical care available for the entire community and make Vashon an even more desirable place to call home.

Say “yes” to save health care on Vashon.

— Lydia Aguilar, MD

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