Health District Publishes Survey Results

The purpose of OIHCD is a to establish reliable, affordable primary care for everyone on Orcas.  While considerable progress has been made, the Commissioners continue to work with Island Health to improve telephone access and appointment scheduling as well as to secure enough providers, exam rooms, support staff and equipment.  These actions are intended to decrease wait times and increase primary care access.  

Public Hospital District boards are also charged more broadly with meeting existing and future health care needs.  Accordingly, the OIHCD Board has undertaken a strategic planning process. Preliminary results of its 2022 OI Health Care Survey were presented at the Board’s public meeting on June 28. That PowerPoint presentation is now posted on the Health District’s website: https://orcashealth.org/

A listening session for Island Health clinic staff and several focus groups were held June 28 and 29. More focus groups will be held July 21 and 22 to reach specific subpopulations and to better understand issues identified by the survey.  The foremost ones include: 

  • The primary reasons Islanders receive primary care off island are the historic turnover of providers and previous provider relationships. There are, however, differences by age:  25% of households 65+ reported too much turnover as a reason versus 14% of households with children. 
  • Urgent care is needed frequently, and 78% of all respondents thought that the reason they last needed urgent care was for something that a primary care clinic should be able to handle.  Households with children were more likely to have needed urgent care compared to households 65+ (65% versus 36%). They were also least likely to get that care on-island (41% versus 56%)
  • Urgent care, primary care, physical therapy, imaging (x-ray, etc.), lab and hospice were the services rated most essential to provide on Island.  Households with children also identified transportation, pediatric dental and behavioral health services as high needs. 

Upcoming focus groups will go deeper into the survey findings to learn why they are so and what residents feel should be done about them. Then in public meetings, the commissioners will work with a facilitator to prioritize the documented health care needs of island residents and to begin drafting a strategic plan. Planning will address a mission statement, goals and objectives. The resulting draft strategic plan will be presented to the public for review, advice, and comment. The process is expected to end in early September. 

The final plan will guide Board decisions and financial investments designed to meet the community’s health care needs. To receive email updates on OIHCD activities, go here. You can unsubscribe from the OIHCD e-mail list at any time.

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