More providers are coming to Island Hospital, and the hospital is considering expansions as it continues to reopen its services and considers financial losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
An operating loss of $850,000 is expected for June, hospital COO Elise Cutter told the hospital board at a meeting last month.
Losses will continue for the next month or so due to decreased patient volume while some services were on hold during the pandemic. However, all services are now reopened.
Dr. Mansell Kevwitch is now offering urology services at the hospital, something that has been requested for a long time, hospital CEO Charles Hall said. Kevwitch has completed 53 urological surgeries at Island Hospital so far this year, and his patient list here is rapidly growing, Hall said.
Dr. Shad Ali is a child psychiatrist who will start seeing patients four days a week at Island Hospital in September. Also starting in September is Dr. Stephen Horras, who will see patients at Fidalgo Medical Associates. He will bring with him not only a family practice but medical acupuncture procedures.
The hospital is also participating in other partnerships to help Anacortes patients, Hall said.
Dr. Kevin Harris is an ear, nose and throat doctor based in Anacortes. Skagit Valley Hospital recently purchased his practice, but an interlocal agreement means Harris will perform his surgical procedures at Island Hospital starting this month.
The hospital is also looking at an agreement with Dr. William House in Friday Harbor to help connect patients there with more specialty services.
The hospital also recently answered the call for a Request for Proposal from the Orcas Island Hospital District, which seeks a partner to bring more health care services to the island, Hall said.
The clinic is now managed by University of Washington Medicine. The school posted on its website that it supports the district’s efforts to expand services but cannot meet the proposal because of constraints from COVID-19.
Island Hospital had a partnership with the Orcas Island clinic until 2016, when the hospital pulled away because running the clinic cost too much money.
The format of the clinic and its funding has changed, Hall said. Previously, the care was subsidized by an on-island hospital foundation, and funding was unsustainable, he said.
Now, a hospital district was formed, along with more sustainable funding. That means that a partnership could be workable for Island Hospital.
“It’s a fiscally sound model,” Hall said.
If the Orcas Island Hospital District accepts the Island Hospital proposal, the nonprofit hospital will take over management of the clinic, add after-hours services, increase home health representation on the island and increase an emergency service partnership, Hall said.
People on Orcas Island currently can only receive care from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, Hall said. This partnership would increase their access to care, including additional help in the form of telemedicine.
If accepted, Island Hospital would take over the clinic care from the University of Washington in early 2021. A decision is expected in the coming months, Hall said.
If Island Hospital takes over, plans are to honor the employment of existing staff members on Orcas, Hall said.