Town where you live
Port Hadlock, WA
Experience (300 characters max)
Clinical practice and administration spanning more than 30 years - private group practices with privileges at private hospitals, a large HMO, Planned Parenthood, and UCSF medical school faculty. Health policy professor at the graduate level for 13 years. Small business owner.
These are uncertain and treacherous times for healthcare in our nation. There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what might replace it if it is repealed. Rural hospitals, such as ours, are at particular risk. My background, skills, experience, and education have given me both depth and breadth of understanding regarding how healthcare can be most effectively, efficiently, and humanely delivered. I am deeply committed to this community where I have lived for 13 years, and to the hospital district where my husband and I have received healthcare for many years. I believe I am well prepared to help preserve all that is positive and successful with Jefferson Healthcare and assist as it moves forward and faces as-yet unknown challenges. I believe that what I have to offer will be of value to our community and I want to give service locally to help keep us safe and strong.
1) Potential cut-backs in Medicaid and/or Medicare reimbursement that could present severe challenges to the financial viability of the hospital district and restricted access to desperately needed services for vulnerable people in our community.
2) A shortage of primary care providers with resulting long wait times to be seen for needed services.
3) Implementation of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), including access to behavioral health services and dental services.
At present, the integration of behavioral health and dental services is most urgent. This priority could change, depending on whether or not the ACA is repealed, and upon whether or not the hospital’s efforts to recruit an expanded work force are successful.
Physical health is profoundly impacted by mental health problems and addiction. Physical illness can lead to impaired mental health or addiction. An integrated team approach to care interrupts this vicious cycle. Innovations already underway will help to position Jefferson Healthcare as a leader in this aspect of rural healthcare delivery. Times of change require approaches to problem solving from the perspective of systems analysis. Important skills will include accurate problem identification and analysis, creative approaches to problem solving, and bridge-building within the team and with community stakeholders.
I have excellent communications skills, both written and verbal. I listen well. I work well in teams and groups, building consensus and helping to integrate the strengths of each team member to create a group that is greater than the sum of its parts. I am active in health policy and education at the national level, with strong collaborative relationships with people providing healthcare and creating health policy in a wide variety of settings. Those relationships and contacts will help marshal resources and information that could be useful to our community. I have an intimate working knowledge of what it feels like to provide high quality healthcare in the face of scarce resources. I bring a lifetime of commitment to serving vulnerable populations and striving for social justice. I have a passion for learning, innovation, and creative solutions. And beyond all these personal characteristics, I bring tremendous experience in the nuts and bolts basics of healthcare delivery.
Town where you live
Port Townsend, Washington
Experience (300 characters max)
I have business and management experience and understand complex financial systems. I have extensive experience leading and serving on public and non-profit Boards. I have significant first-hand experience navigating the healthcare system and dealing with insurance companies and billing departments.
I believe in giving back to the community and have done so throughout my life. I spent 6 years helping my wife navigate the healthcare systems in Jefferson County, Seattle, Sequim, etc., while she battled cancer. We became very familiar with hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and billing offices and how difficult it can be to understand and navigate the system. We talked about how we could give back to help other people facing the same challenges. Since my wife passed away last October, I have been volunteering on the Oncology Support Team, the Patient & Family Advisory Council, and the Patient Financial Experience Task Force at Jefferson Healthcare, to improve the experience and make it easier for patients and their families as they interact with Jefferson Healthcare. I believe serving on the Commission will allow me to do even more to improve the quality and scope, affordability, and access of healthcare in the District. It is also a way for me to honor my wife’s memory.
The District is facing many challenges both internally and externally. The three that I hear the most concern about are;
Quality of care
Costs / affordability
I believe improving access is the most urgent. We need high quality doctors, nurses, and support staff to be able to provide the quality and scope of healthcare services that the citizens of the District want and need. If we can’t provide the services that the patients (the customers of the district) need in a timely manner, they will go outside the District for their healthcare. This also ties in with costs. Sometimes people don’t have access, or feel they don’t have access, to needed medical care because they can’t afford the cost. The District needs to continue to look for ways to reduce costs and develop other methods to help people afford the healthcare they need.
My education as a Chemical Engineer with a Master of Business Administration degree and my experience as a manager for Port Townsend Paper and as a member of the Hospital’s Financial Advisory Committee, give me a different way of looking at problems and understanding complex financial situations. I also served on the Port Townsend School board and helped start and serve on the boards for Jefferson County Education Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County, and the Jefferson Community Foundation, all of which are helping meet the needs of the community. I have a proven record of collaborating to get things done. I have first-hand knowledge of the healthcare system from a patient, care giver, patient advocate perspective. Additionally, I am currently serving on 3 committees at the Hospital as listed above. I also have experience in continuous improvement, lean / 6 sigma initiatives, and interest- based bargaining, which will help me be an effective commissioner.