BI to discuss medical needs

When Swedish Health Services closed its primary care clinic on Bainbridge Island last May it created a health care crisis.

It left about 8,000 patients without care. About 25% of them have been able to transfer to the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health BI clinic and Pacifica Medicine in Poulsbo, a memo from Anne LeSage, Emergency Management coordinator, to city manager Blair King says.

The City Council asked King to have staff look into the issue in December. The follow-up is on the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting on Zoom.

BI, Kitsap County and the state are federally designated health care shortage areas. BI has three healthcare providers left.

Virginia Mason has a wait list for new patients, MemberPlus Family Health is accepting new patients but is membership based and Bainbridge Pediatrics is accepting new patients. Clinic space left by Swedish remains vacant.

LeSage’s memo says to increase the number of health care providers the city could consider adding health care recruitment as a focus for outside providers such as the Kitsap Economic Development Association, the BI Downtown Association and the BI Chamber of Commerce.

Also on the agenda is discussion of a Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion Facility.

According to the Washington Municipal Research and Services Center, food waste is a significant emitter of greenhouse gases. “If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.”

Anaerobic Digestion is a natural process in which microorganisms break down organic materials typically in a system closed to air or oxygen to produce a useable product, for example, natural gas.

Recycling is voluntary on BI and the city does not control the waste stream but city property at the transfer facility off Vincent Road might be used for the project. A report from the executive says California passed a law to reduce organic waste by 75% and Washington could soon follow.