Bill Williams running for hospital district board

Bill Williams is running for a position on the five-member Hospital District Board. Three seats, currently held by Mike Taylor, Lenore Bayuk and Rosanna O'Donnell,  are up for election this year.  Williams sent in the following statement:

I am announcing my candidacy for the San Juan County Public Hospital District Board election this November.

I have been an island resident for fifteen years. Prior to coming to SJI, I spent thirty years managing hospitals, medical and dental clinics, and medical insurance companies, in civilian and military settings. I earned my BS degree at the University of Oregon and my Master of Health Administration from Baylor University. I will soon be posting a website containing a more detailed resume, information pertaining to local health care issues, and an email address for correspondence.

I am seeking a position on the Hospital District Board to help ensure health care on San Juan Island is available, accessible, high quality, and reasonably priced. I would like to see an ongoing process of evaluation and improvement of our health care in each of these areas. I want our health care needs assessments to consider the needs of all islanders, even if we don't currently see a way to meet some of those needs. Our Board should maintain open, respectful communication and collaboration with a large spectrum of stakeholders to include other hospitals and hospital districts, boards of health, and organizations like hospice and Planned Parenthood, to broaden our knowledge and our vision. I want more islanders to feel that the hospital district board truly represents them and through the board, they have a voice in the kind of healthcare they receive.

Over the past several years, I have been contacted by many islanders who have related their medical experiences, asked questions, and sought my advice. In a few cases I was able to work with PIMC administration to reduce or eliminate billing to the patient. I have also met with members of the hospital steering committee, PIMC administration, EMS administration, and citizen groups, spoken before the League of Women Voters, and written articles published by our local papers. I frequently attend and have spoken before the hospital district board and the county board of health advocating for urgent care, appropriate use of emergency care, expanded primary care, maternity care, and a rational pathway for islanders to access death with dignity. I was also involved in the ultimately successful effort to get hospital district board meetings video recorded and live streamed so more islanders could become aware and hopefully involved in what the board does.

While I tend to focus on what I believe still needs to be done, I want to also give credit to what has already been done. Our PHD, faced with the unsustainability of IIMC, worked with the San Juan Island Community Hospital steering committee to find a way to keep the doors to health care open on the island. Thanks to their planning, fundraising, and the generosity and hard work of many islanders, we have a modern, inviting medical center that is filled with competent staff who show their concern and expertise every day. Our EMS and dedicated EMTs have set a gold standard for responsiveness and care in a rural county. Both PIMC and EMS enjoy scores of committeed volunteers who complement the paid staff. Time and again, islanders have shown they believe in local solutions and have provided local support to implement them.

As a San Juan County Public Hospital District commissioner, I will apply my time, energy and experience to build on what we have and do my best to provide an enduring health care system that meets the needs of San Juan islanders.

- Bill Williams

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