September 17, 2019
Meeting was called to order by Carol Johnson at 7:32am. Todd O. led the flag salute.
Debbie stated one correction by email is Nate Adkisson did not attend hospital commission meetings, only read the minutes. Jack moved to accept September 10 meeting minutes as corrected, second by Julie. Motion passed.
Charlie McCaughan, Martha Cunningham, Brendan Meyer, Ian Nichol, Christy Cox, Ben from the county, John from Seattle
Christy announced the global climate strike at Hollywood Beach Friday the 20th.
Kaj announced the Governmental Affairs topic of the septic tax today at 1:30pm at the County Commissioners office.
Julie Hatch is now at Kitsap Bank.
Program: Nina Napiontek and Navarra Carr running for Port Angeles City Council Position 6
Andrew introduced the candidates.
Candidates gave opening remarks.
A question was asked about panhandling and raising taxes?
Navarra said she has worked in housing and supports programs like PBH and Serenity House to provide housing and treatment. Some aren’t residents but travelers. She supports the tax proposal for affordable housing but not necessarily other taxes. Nina said panhandling is not illegal now. Donating to organizations that support the panhandlers, and not directly to the individuals, would be a healthy discussion. It’s important for the community to voice their opinion and her job would be to support what the community wants. She is happy that Prop 1 was unanimously voted to be put on the ballot. She would honor citizens choice but would probably not vote for it personally. Navarra added it is a community responsibility to come together to help with the housing crisis and understands the budget struggle. Nina said it all adds up, families now budget down to the cent. There are other ways to help and not raise taxes.
When asked if there is a ceiling for sales tax?
Navarra said Sequim is 8.8% and she would keep it the same or similar to surrounding communities. She would not raise taxes for the sake of raising. Nina agreed to keep it the same or lower, but the community needs to feel they’re getting something out of it. She would discuss it with the council to find other possible ways to keep it lower. Navarra added she would look at the individual departments, look at long term projects, and possible grant or private funding
In answer to a parking problem question?
Nina said the planning committee has a vetting process and checks the legality of parking, which is an issue. A garage behind the Armory Mall has been discussed in the past and funding should be a community discussion. With delivery trucks partially blocking lanes, a 2-way street would not be a good solution. Navarra agreed delivery trucks are an issue. She walks and would incentivize other modes of travel and check zoning. She realizing council makes choices of the people, but sometimes they need to act and make decision.
Navarra is interested in new buildings having a minimum number of parking spaces, in relation to parking codes. She sees a level of inaction in City Council and supports Councilman French. Nina believes in due process and said it is a discussion they need to have. Let the planning commission do their job using facts and legalities. She applauds Mr. French saying it is a community concern.
What can City Council do about the drug issue?
Navarra said hold big pharma accountable, help fund treatment programs, and support local healthcare systems. Nina would reinforce charities in our area, and create new projects that give people, including the homeless, hope.
What are some ideas for financial challenges?
Nate would advocate more at teh state and federal level and use technology for patients to be more on top of their services and costs. Ann Marie siad they provide a high amount of charitable care. Savings could be in purchasing drugs and have strong advocates. Wellness services would help people take control of their health. Jean has a tax levy concern. They can’t cut much more and have moved primary care physicians back to within 200′ of the hospital. She would encourage health and join other hospitals in purchasing. Ted said patients should take control of their healthcare. Thom said we are a large rural hospital that gets paid the same as Seattle hospitals and advocacy makes a difference. They are now in a legal case looking to overturn the site neutral ruling. They are doing what they can do.
Would you support a new tax levy?
Nate can’t say without knowing why. Ann Marie agreed, adding they need to sustain and maintain the hospital. Jean said the levy paid for charity and debts, and now barely meets their needs. They need to improve facilities and will be highly probably. Ted would do what it takes to keep it going. Thom said their budget is over $200M / year and a levy has to be considered.
Candidates thoughts about transparency
Ann Marie said it is difficult to read pricing, but they change all the time especially for medications. Full transparency may not be realistic. Nate said CMS is making this happen already. In 2020 hospitals will have to have 70 procedures searchable but insurance companies are fighting it. Ted said transparency is only fair. Jean said OMC has done its best, your own health determines what actually happens. Thom said to establish prices based on how people will pay. Billing is complex, but transparency is very feasible based on an elective procedure.
Can discounted medication be extended to the community?
Nate said control must be government driven and medication should not be able to be purchased worldwide. Ann Marie said they only specific medications discounted. Clinics to have some to give patients, that wouldn’t help with insulin. She would support worldwide purchases but said to your own research. Jean said the hospital works with patients but declare your medications it traveling across borders. Maybe if people purchased medications from other countries it will show the US government that we’ll take action. Ted said he would work to make it easier for patients. Thom said big pharma is the primary ingredient to the problem. Hospitals can only buy at what the market will allow. The federal government is not taking an active role.
What have the candidates learned about Clallam County?
Nate talked to consultants in the community, physicians, and reports across the state, read the strategic plan, attended meetings and read minutes. Ann Marie spent two years attending meetings and follows committee meetings, met with the leadership team and current commissioners. Jean learned care is complex and challenging with regulations. They provide the best quality care. Ted said as a safety and security advisor for NOHC he listens and learns from the public. Thom said US is failing to meet healthcare needs: diabetes and strokes are increasing nationwide. Addressing chronic illness by the public being educated to make better choices is an opportunity for growth in OMC.
Candidates gave closing statements.
Andrew moved to extend the meeting up to 15 minutes, seconded by Dan. Motion passed.
Nina believes in the Sequim MAT facility in principal but needs to research whether another is needed in PA. It is an asset as a regional facility. Navarra, as City Councilperson, would not weigh in on another community’s council decision, Personally, she fully supports it. There are functioning addicts as well as homeless, it can affect everyone.
Nina will email Carol an answer to prioritizing budgeted programs where there may be a shortfall. Her decision-making process involves other people. Navarra has a background in non-profit finance and would look at the council’s goals and what is best for the city.
Candidates made closing comments.
Carol announced the city council forum next week. PABA will also vote on a legislative agenda for the Government Affairs committee next week. When Government Affairs must act the committee can do so efficiently.
Meeting adjourned at 8:46am.