Who Should Receive our Hospital District Funds?
By Michelle Loftus
Michelle Loftus is a former chairman of SJCRP, current PCO, and successful businesswoman. -editor
Since 2011 our hospital district levy money has helped San Juan Islanders. Ninety percent of the levy money was put in a fund to help anyone who needed help paying their hospital medical bills and ten percent was used for district operations. This was set up in the first amendment to the 2009 Subsidy agreement between the San Juan Public Hospital District #1 and Peace Health. The hospital district levy is paid by property owners in the hospital district.
November 2016 the hospital district board and Peace Health amended the levy (subsidy) to allow $50,000 of the levy money to be used for other medical needs in the district.
So, what are the other medical needs in our community? The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) of 2016 is a study developed with much input from the community, medical providers, community leaders and community medical support groups including PP. Lack of birth control or STD testing in our community was not identified as a need in the assessment.
Why then has our hospital district board targeted PP to receive the $50,000?
Looking back to 2015, three San Juan Public Hospital District Commissioners were elected to the five-member board by the 60% Democrat majority in the hospital district. The Democrat Chair during the 2015 election was proud to promote the accomplishments of his daughter who is an abortion surgeon and public speaker for Planned Parenthood. Democrats and Planned Parenthood gave public support to the three elected commissioners Harrington, Williams and Sharp.
Planned Parenthood support was included in the three commissioners’ Facebook pages and campaign materials. The results? In our hospital district, there are now strong political ties between the three organizations—PP, local Democrats and the San Juan Public Hospital District.
Now it is time for pay back. Planned Parenthood an organization boasting over $300 million in assets has been drooling for our local money long enough and now has the hospital district board in place that will give it to them.
What about the guidance of the CHNA? It is being ignored to give favor to Planned Parenthood. Yes, free birth control and STD testing is being put in front of our citizens who need hospice, senior health support, drug abuse treatment, mental health care, nutritional support and ACEs support. Please review the SJCPHD Ethics Code Section 5, on sjcphd.org, to see if this situation defines an ethics violation.
To make matters worse, the 3 commissioners have blocked an attempt of Commissioner Edwards to enhance public input at SJCPHD meetings. This is a transparency failure and a public disservice.
What can you do?
- Contact all five San Juan Public Hospital District Commissioners. Let them know where the $50,000 is needed in our community. Their email addresses are present at sjcphd.org. Specifics about CHNA are found on the same website under Documents/Peace Health Documents.
- Email letters to the editors so our community recognizes we are being manipulated by a large outside force-PP. Surely there are Democrats that are unhappy about this too so talk it up.
- Attend the SJCPHD monthly meetings (click for schedule) and make public comment. They are usually the fourth Wednesday of the month 5 PM at the County Council Chambers in Friday Harbor. See sjcphd.org website for occasional schedule changes.
- Remember this is a fiduciary issue. Whether you are prolife or prochoice the hospital district board has plans to misuse our money.
SJC Public Hospital District in the News:
Lopez to establish a hospital District, Mar 6, Islands Weekly
Several letters published recently advocating for the transfer of funds here and here. Against: here, here.
February Journal article here, and a timeline published by the Journal here.
We have published several blog posts, linked here.
The Journal ran an article on 4/13 entitled “Public Hospital District Answers” here.