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What are your ideas to expand health care services in Ocean Shores?

   We all agree that health care in Ocean Shores is a top priority. The weekly conversations at Community Voices continue to reflect a deep concern. (August 15th) and support the need to develop creative strategies to achieve this priority.


   As Mayor, I will continue to look for options and partners to help us solve the crisis by expanding community medicine opportunities that already include the Ocean Shores Fire Department, our local, practicing nurse practitioner, Nurse Ann, and Grays Harbor Community Hospital.


   One such program, was announced in February by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport (ET3) model.


   “This model will create a new set of incentives for emergency transport and care, ensuring patients get convenient, appropriate treatment in whatever setting makes sense for them,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s announcement shows that we can radically rethink the incentives around care delivery even in one of the trickiest parts of our system. A value-based health-care system will help deliver each patient the right care, at the right price, in the right setting, from the right provider.”


   To be able to benefit from this new model we will take advantage of the federal Opportunity Zones tax incentive, we will create an investment and opportunity zone portfolio that will define our needs and the opportunities for building medical facilities. We will explore teleheath / telemedicine and find ways to increase Internet speed and availability to support it.


   Finally, we must work in partnership with Grays Harbor Hospital to redefine how we recruit providers to our rural area. We must be creative and encourage providers like Dr. Daniel Linville who, having done mission work in Ecuador, Kenya and Belize recently joined the Kearny County Hospital in the rural town of Lakin, Kansas.

He says he and his physician wife were also drawn to the surprisingly diverse population Kearny County Hospital serves, including immigrants from Somalia, Vietnam, Laos and Guatemala. In that sense, says Linville, every day feels like an international medical mission, requiring everything from delivering babies to treating dementia.


   Expanding health care options has enormous value beyond serving our citizens, it will be a huge economic benefit to Ocean Shores and Grays Harbor County.