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Using Telehealth to Stay Healthy

Physical distancing has taught us how to do so much of our daily lives online! We’re learning how to grocery shop, do our jobs, go to school, hang out with friends and family, all without leaving our favorite screen.

We’ve also heard a lot about the advantages of getting our health care over the computer during the COVID-19 crisis. Telehealth allows you to use electronic communications to get health care when you and the doctor aren’t in the same place at the same time. If you have a phone or a device with the internet, you already have everything you need to do telehealth!

For general information and education visit the Department of Health’s website HERE.

Medical Clinic Operator Request for Proposal (RFP) is Active

As previously reported, the Orcas Island Health Care District has been working to initiate the process of identifying a potential medical service provider to operate a consolidated clinic on Orcas in 2021.

At their May 5, 2020 Regular meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved the materials and timeline to conduct a formal RFP. Those documents are available at: 2020-03 Medical Clinic Operator RFP.

After review of the materials, entities interested in participating in the RFP process should contact the District Superintendent, Anne Presson. Superintendent Presson can be reached by email:, or via mobile/text: 415-999-5611.



Meeting Materials Posted

The Agenda and materials for the May 5, 2020 Regular Meeting of the OIHCD can be found HERE.

Please be aware that we are changing the way in which Public Comments are received in the current virtual meeting format. If you wish to provide an oral Public Comment during the May 5, 2020 OIHCD Regular Board meeting, please submit an email to

Your email should contain the following information:

  • Your First and Last Name
  • The Agenda Item(s) that you would like to provide oral Public Comment(s)
  • The Telephone Number that you will be calling from

If you wish to be added to our “Speakers List” and have the Superintendent read your comment at the meeting, please follow the same procedure and submit an email to Include the first two bullet items listed above, indicating you would like to provide a comment for the Speakers List rather than oral Public Comment. At the start of the meeting, the Board President will explain how we will be handling the second Public Comment period at the end of the Agenda. This is to accommodate active participants who have a comment as a result of the discussion.

Your email to request either form of Public Comment must be received by 3:00 pm May 5, 2020 and must include all of the requested information. Any omitted information will render the request incomplete and will not be included for Public Comment during the meeting. We will retain the three minute maximum per person, and the information you provide may be subject to disclosure pursuant to Washington State’s Public Record Act, chapter 42.56 RCW.

Meeting Instructions:

To join the Zoom web meeting:

Meeting ID: 869 6091 2741

Dial in Phone Number: 1-669-900-9128
Meeting ID: 869 6091 2741

An Update from Superintendent Presson

OIHCD Prepares to Seek Potential Partner for Medical Services – also posted online at Orcas Issues and The Sounder

As we reported for much of 2019, the OIHCD spent most of last year assessing the existing health care model. This included gaining an understanding of the complex health care reimbursement system and the constraints of delivering care on a rural, remote island. As the discussion continued into 2020, the decision was made that funding a two-clinic model was not financially sustainable, and there was consensus of the Board to move to a single clinic funding model in 2021.

To accomplish their objective, one of the Board’s key activities for 2020 is to conduct a Medical Clinic Operator Request for Proposal (RFP). At their April 21st Regular meeting, Commissioners received a draft of the Medical Clinic Operator RFP document. Once finalized, the RFP release will begin the process of identifying potential medical service providers interested in operating a consolidated Clinic on Orcas. The Board will be reviewing a final draft of the RFP document and supporting materials, and possibly taking action to release the RFP at their next Regular meeting on May 5th.

Due to the technical challenges of accepting live Public Comment, the Board will be modifying our process while we are unable to hold “in person” meetings. We ask that anyone interested in making a comment do so by submitting it in writing via email prior to the Board meeting. Please include your full name and keep in mind comments will be limited to three minutes. Comments should be emailed to: and must be received no later than 3:00 pm on Tuesday, May 5th to be read during the meeting.

As a reminder, OIHCD Regular Board meetings start at 5 pm and are currently held via Zoom. To access the Agenda and meeting materials visit the Notices page on the District website. Materials will be posted online no later than 5 pm the day prior to the meeting. You will also find the Zoom link on the Agenda or Meetings Calendar page of the website. The Agenda format maintains a Public Comment period at both the start and close of the meeting. To accommodate comments that come as a result of the discussion, we will have meeting participants type in their Public Comment via the Chat function on Zoom, and I will read those comments similar to how the emailed Public Comments will be handled at the start of the meeting.

The Commissioners and I appreciate your understanding as we strive to keep you informed and seek your input, even as we navigate these unusual times.



COVID-19 Update

Inslee announces easing of outdoor restrictions

Fishing, hunting, golf and day use at state parks

Gov. Jay Inslee announced today a partial re-opening of some outdoor recreation activities.

“When I rolled out, ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ over a month ago, difficult decisions were made to close state parks and public lands, golf facilities, and delaying hunting and fishing seasons. This was necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, reduce travel and ultimately, save lives,” Inslee said.

“Outdoor recreation is one of the best things we can do promote physical, mental and emotional well-being for Washingtonians during a time of great stress and isolation. And springtime in our state is Washington at its best and people want to be out enjoying outdoor activities in a safe and responsible way.”

As of Tuesday, May 5, some outdoor recreation will be allowed with appropriate safety precautions including: fishing; hunting; playing golf; day use at state parks, state public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and at state Fish and Wildlife areas.

The governor stressed that all of these activities must be done with appropriate social distancing and the safety and security of participants and the people who work in outdoor recreation.

“If we see a sharp uptake in the number of people who are getting sick or are not following appropriate steps, then we won’t hesitate to scale this back again,” Inslee said. “This is not a return to normal. This is only a beginning phase of relaxing outdoor recreation restrictions.”

Public gatherings, events, team sports, and camping, among other things, are not resuming at this time.

Notably, the actions the state is taking in no way prevent the closure actions of local governments or national agencies, who may choose to continue their park, land and trail closures based on local public health needs.

Inslee was joined at the announcement by:

  • Commissioner Hilary Franz, commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources
  • Kelly Susewind, director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Don Hoch, director of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

The outdoor activities include guidelines and restrictions.

1) Anyone exhibiting any cold or flu-like symptoms shall not participate in outdoor recreation activities.

2) Any state parks, state public lands, hunting and fishing seasons, golf facilities, trails, and other public parks, public lands and trails may be closed at any time if there is reason to believe unsafe conditions exist or social distancing practices are not being adhered to.

3) People must recreate locally: Do not travel farther than necessary and do not stay overnight to recreate.

4) Limit your recreation partners to only those who live within your household unit.

5) Practice social distancing at trailheads, boat launches, and all areas where you encounter others.

6) Utilize facial coverings in any situation where social distancing is not possible.

7) Bring your own food and supplies when possible. This will help protect others in your community.

8) The Golf Alliance of Washington has been working to provide appropriate social distancing and limits on activities. These include spacing out tee times, limits on size of parties, walking-only (unless someone needs to be in the cart for mobility reasons), no on-site beverage or food service (take-away only, just as with other food service) and more.

“Today’s announcement is another great example of industries coming together to help ensure that activity that is important to Washingtonians can continue in a safe and healthy way during this pandemic,” Inslee said. “I’m confident that Washingtonians who love outdoors as much as I do will do the right thing and and recreate in a healthy and safe way.”

“The people of Washington have made great sacrifices as we fight the spread of COVID-19. One such sacrifice, felt profoundly by those who treasure the outdoors, was the closure of state parks and recreation areas,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who leads the DNR. “Because of our shared sacrifice and the heroic work of our first responders, we can begin reopening our public lands. Reconnecting people with nature is the first step of a long journey back to normalcy. However, as we reopen we cannot stop being diligent in the fight against this virus. We all need to make sure we continue to do as much as we can to keep our families and communities healthy.”

“We’re happy to once again provide outdoor opportunities to the people of Washington who have been following the governor’s order to stay home and save lives,” says Washington State Parks Director Don Hoch. “We’re looking forward to welcoming our visitors back and providing outdoor recreation in a safe and responsible way.”

“Because we’ve seen so many people doing their part to stay home, we’re now at a point where we’re able to begin welcoming people back outdoors,” said Kelly Susewind, WDFW director. “I’m asking people to take what they’ve learned these past few weeks and continue putting these measures into play as you fish, hunt, and enjoy your local wildlife area. We’re happy to re-open these opportunities, and we need you to continue working with us to stay safe.”

“On behalf of the Golf Alliance of Washington, we would first like to thank Governor Inslee and his team for the leadership and utmost attention to the safety of all Washingtonians. Additionally, thank you to all the first responders for the courage and sacrifices being made for all of us. With vast areas of open space containing green grass, ponds and trees, a golf course provides the ability for social distancing in a stress-free environment. The physical activity and mental wellness that golf provides can be a solution to improve the moods and reduce anxiety for many residents in our state,” Troy Andrew, Executive Director of Washington Golf and spokesperson for Golf Alliance of Washington. “Furthermore, by golf courses being open, it will provide economic activity and jobs. The Golf Alliance of Washington has worked closely with the governor and the golf community in creating additional measures that are way outside the norm, to assure maximum social distancing and safety at all golf courses for the foreseeable future.”

The governor signed along with the announcement.

Meeting Materials Posted

The Agenda and materials for the April 21, 2020 Regular Meeting of the OIHCD can be accessed HERE. The meeting will include brief updates from UW Medicine Orcas Island Clinic and Orcas Family Health Center.

As a reminder, the OIHCD is complying with the Governor’s Proclamation and a subsequent waiver to certain requirements of the OPMA. While the Board is allowed to conduct meetings, we are restricted to taking action on matters that are “necessary and routine or are matters necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and the current public health emergency.”  Important to note the term “action” includes discussion – meaning the intent of the Proclamation is that meetings be short, efficient, and restricted to necessary business.

While routine is more self-explanatory, necessary items are those where any decision that if not taken prior to April 23, 2020 would have negative impacts on the District or the taxpayers. Guidance suggests that if the matter involves a decision that can be postponed until after April 23, 2020 the items are not considered necessary. Items marked as POSTPONED on the Agenda are those that were deemed to fall outside of these parameters.

We appreciate the community’s understanding as we continue to assess how to best address the business of the District during these challenging times. Details for the Zoom meeting can be found on the Agenda or directly on the Meetings Calendar.

Meeting Cancellation

Please be advised that the April 7th Regular Meeting of the OIHCD has been CANCELLED. The Board is currently scheduled to meet via Zoom at their next Regular Meeting on April 21st at 5 pm.

We continue to appreciate the community’s understanding as we adapt to conducting the necessary and routine business of the District in the era of COVID-19.

Stay Home. Stay Healthy.


COVID-19 Resources

For a positive way to think about our current situation, this thoughtful piece reflects on the importance of human connection in a time of necessary physical separation.

Click HERE to read more.

COVID-19 Updates

Press Release from the WA Health Benefits Exchange:

OLYMPIA, Wash.– In response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Washington state, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) today announced it is extending the current special enrollment period for individuals who are uninsured.

Click HERE to learn more.


COVID-19 Resources

A recent article on the Washington State Department of Health’s website has some good tips and resources to help you care for your financial health during the COVID-19 crisis. Click HERE to learn more.

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