Island Primary Care – Orcas

Signs for the new clinic were installed in the last week of March, just before operations transferred to Island Hospital.

Island Hospital took over operation of a clinic on Orcas Island last week and took in its first patients Monday, April 5.

The clinic, now called Island Primary Care – Orcas, is the consolidation of UW Medicine Orcas Island Medical Center and Orcas Family Health Center, which were half a mile apart.

Island Hospital CEO Charles Hall said this is the third time Island Hospital has had an operation on Orcas Island in the past 20 years.

“It’s very difficult to provide care in these islands because of intermittent transportation, the ferry doesn’t go around the clock, and we have weather conditions that limit their access,” Hall said.

Island Hospital’s prior operations on the island relied on a subsidy from a foundation, but it proved unsustainable, Hall said. UW Medicine took over in 2017.

In 2018, the Orcas Island Health Care District formed, which creates levies to fund healthcare. In 2020, it decided to merge the two clinics and after UW Medicine announced it would leave, contracted with Island Hospital to be the care provider on the island, Hall said.

“The conditions are really good right now. We have the talent, the providers, the passion and even the fiscal support to be successful moving forward,” he said.

Services at the clinic will include family medicine, pediatrics, telemedicine, laboratory tests and X-rays, as well as after-hours care.

Dr. Frank James, San Juan County health officer and University of Washington clinical professor, will serve as medical director of the clinic.

“All (who) applied between those two clinics, we were able to hire,” Hall said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be livestreamed on Island Hospital’s Facebook page on April 12.

This is only one expansion of Island Hospital. It’s also expanding its urology, gastrointestinal and women’s health services, Hall said.

“We are working hard to hear and address the needs that are here within this region,” he said.

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