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Health District Seeks Comment on 2023 – 2027 Strategic Plan, By Tom Eversole / October 10, 2022 

Orcas Island Health Care District (OIHCD) promotes the health of the Orcas community by funding island-appropriate facilities, services and staff. It works as a catalyst bringing together all health care stakeholders to support a community approach to care that addresses health care needs on the island.

The DRAFT strategic plan is posted on the District’s website. Your comments are invited during the Board’s public meeting on October 20 at 5 PM.  See website for the Zoom link to join.   


OIHCD exists to protect and improve the health of the Orcas community by assuring the availability of quality primary, acute and after-hours medical care in a financially sustainable and cost-effective manner. It is not a direct provider of medical care. The District strives to be a model rural health care community that enables every person to achieve maximum health and wellness. This is the first strategic plan since the District began in 2018, and it positions us to move closer to that vision. It also guides how we will use tax revenues and partnerships, especially with Island Health Primary Care-Orcas (the Clinic) to increase service levels and access.  

Despite the challenges of rural medicine, OIHCD has many assets on which to build; our community being number one. The Orcas community supports and expects coordinated efforts to increase access and reduce unnecessary travel off island. They provided a strong voice in the planning process. 

The goals, detailed below, provide direction to start forging our vision into reality. The District commits to measuring its efforts rigorously, to sharing information transparently, to continuing a dialogue with the community aimed at sharing opportunities and challenges that the needs assessment revealed, and to using that information to improve the health of our community. Our strategic goals and action items assume that we will accomplish them using existing and new contractual relationships and agreements. Specifically, OIHCD will use its tax revenues to support, subsidize and assure primary care and other island-appropriate essential care for the Orcas community.  It will promote: 

  • Access to quality primary care, including pediatrics, women’s health, and behavioral health, and care coordination for complex patients,
  • A positive primary care experience for everyone who seeks care on Orcas,   
  • Reducing the need to travel off island for health care, and 
  • Partnerships and technology that facilitate local access to health care.

The District will focus its funding and annual budget in alignment with the strategic plan. It will use the various joint committees already in place with the Clinic and will work with other Island providers and organizations to influence medical services quality, care, access and equity.  We will accomplish this by financially supporting the following goals, and by measuring change:   

GOAL #1  Quality Primary Care is Available on Orcas Island        

GOAL #2   The Clinic and OIFR/EMS Coordinate to Provide Quality, 24/7 After Hours Support          

GOAL #3  Islanders have access to and feel welcomed at the Clinic 

GOAL #4  Reduce Unnecessary Off-Island Travel for Health Care

GOAL #5  Establish and Support Health Related Collaborations and Partnerships that Improve the Health and Wellness of Islanders 

GOAL #6 The District has excellent communication with Islanders  

The entire plan and action items designed to accomplish these goals are posted on the District website for your review and comment. 

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