Hot weather, hot clinic staff

By Pat Grubb

Recent weather has got the Point Roberts health clinic staff all hot and bothered these days. District superintendent Elaine Komusi proposed to hospital district commissioners at their regular July 5 board meeting that she look into air conditioning for the clinic’s waiting room, explaining, “It’s very hot.” She pointed out that the patient rooms were separate and that it would be difficult to air condition the entire clinic.

The problem has become pronounced ever since fire commissioner Shannon Tomsen prohibited clinic staff from opening a common door between the clinic and the fire hall that had provided airflow and cooler temperatures.

Commissioners also expressed support for the clinic’s plan to have a dental van visit the clinic twice-annually. “I think it would be beneficial for the community,” said commissioner Robin Nault. The cost of bringing the van up would be approximately $7,000 annually which would be partially offset by revenue of $3,800. The $3,200 shortfall would be split 50/50 by the hospital district and UnityCare, the clinic’s operator.

As has become routine, it took some time before the board could conduct regular business. Tomsen and her husband, Vic Riley, engaged the board with 33 minutes of meandering, repetitive and vague complaints about the district’s management while video recording on the couple’s iPad. She accused board members of being “self-interested” and guilty of “rubberstamping anything that UnityCare” wanted. Once again, Tomsen brought up the clinic’s signage, a contentious issue that had been put to bed by both fire district and hospital district commissioners.

“I can’t believe we’re still talking about the signage,” said Nault. “I thought that was over. Whether you agreed with it or not, we thought it made financial sense. If that’s all you’ve got, I think it’s time to agree to disagree.” Pressed on the signage issue, Tomsen responded, “It’s not the issue about the sign itself, it’s an issue that is symptomatic of something bigger.” She did not explain what that “something bigger” entailed.

Asked by chair Dick Williams what would make him happy, Riley replied he would have less concern if he felt the commission was properly overseeing UnityCare, and suggested the district should consider other competitive providers. Komusi pointed out that issuing Requests For Proposals (RFPs) is an onerous process and would be impractical on an annual basis. “The last time I put out 15 RFPs and most of them didn’t
respond,” she said.

Williams eventually stepped in, saying, “I just moved to the agenda and the reason I did is that I don’t think the discussion we’re having is useful.” Nearly three-quarters of the meeting had been taken up by Tomsen and Riley.

The next regular meeting of the hospital district will be held 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9 at the community center.

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