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San Juan Island PHD: Village at Harbor fully staffed

LWVSJ Observer Corps:  SJC Public Hospital District #1, January 24, 2024

Dr. Fishout, island pediatrician, reported on autism spectrum disorder.  Due to better diagnostics, incidence has gone from 1/150 in 2000 to 1/36 in 2020.  Current SJI School District rate is 1/33, 13 students, but that is an undercount. There are limited resources for diagnosis and treatment, and early diagnosis is essential. Care is expensive and has insurance barriers. Both SJISD psychologists can do diagnostic testing.  Supervisor Butler noted that EMS has done training on the autism spectrum.  Dr. Fishout revisited his previous report on fentanyl, with overdoses continuing locally. Most of the product now comes from Canada.

Superintendent Butler reviewed 2023 at EMS. It was a successful first year with station-based EMS personnel, with the best year for fast response. They now have use of a power stair chair, improved radio system, and an electric truck.  They continued to administer Narcan on calls.  Chief Bishop noted that the cardiac arrest survival rates are well above the average, and SJIEMS has been recognized by the American Heart Association.  They did field training for new EMT personnel.  The Community Paramedicine Program served 178 patients.

Village at the Harbor Director Tina Smith, appointed as permanent Director, brought supervisory staff to the meeting, including Kelcy (quality control), Melissa (staff), Jill (executive assistant) and Hope (dining room supervisor) and gave an update on 2023.  The Village is fully staffed for the first time, due to better pay and benefits.  Staff engaged in hospice training, with several residents in hospice.  A big change was the addition of five Medicaid beds. Executive A new dedicated employee addressed deferred maintenance in 2023 at the Village.  They replaced obsolete hot water tanks and remodeled the interior with better features, new furniture, lighting and paint.  

The Home Care Program is nearing rollout, with Ingrid Gabriel as Coordinator and licensing expected soon. 

Steve Wambsganss, Financial Director, made the complicated changeover from county to in- house management of payment and payroll functions.  Steve is working on a 501 c3 fundraising organization as part of the SJI Community Foundation to benefit Village at the Harbor.

The Commissioners approved a new Code of Ethics and elected officers for 2024: Anna Lisa Lindstrum Chair; Gail Leschine-Seitz Vice Chair; Rick Fraser Financial Officer.  A resolution established the start time of regular meetings at 4:00pm.


*The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization, encourages informed participation in government.  The Observer Corps attends and takes notes at government meetings to promote public understanding of public policy and decisions.  The notes do not necessarily reflect the views of the League or its members.