Lopez physical therapy goes into private practice

Islands' Weekly: Tue Sep 5th, 2017 1:30am
Submitted by Terri Drahn, Kim Foley and Bobbie Holt, Lopez Physical Therapy

As many of you are aware, physical therapy was not included in the transition of the Lopez Clinic. The community believes strongly that physical therapy is a critical service for our island, and together we are making every effort to continue to offer PT here on Lopez.

In order to make this happen, we are forming Lopez Island Physical Therapy LLC as a private practice. ...

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UW Medicine names chief of Orcas-Lopez island clinics

Islands' Weekly: Tue Aug 29th, 2017 4:33pm
Submitted by UW Medicine

UW Medicine is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael D. Alperin has accepted the position of chief of the UW Medicine Orcas Island and Lopez Island Clinics effective Nov. 1.

Alperin is currently chief and clinical director of primary care at the Veterans Administration healthcare system in Portland, Oregon. ...

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Update on Emergency Services and The Lopez Clinic

by Dr. Bob Wilson, Marty Clark, Peggy Means, Christa Campbell, Charlie Janeway

August 4, 2017

As the team that was responsible for finding a new partner for Lopez Clinic, we would like to correct some misperceptions currently in our community.

First and foremost: Lopez will not lose emergency services under the new partnership with UW Medicine.Please rest assured that excellent emergency care will continue on Lopez. When you call 911, you will receive help from our highly skilled and well-trained Fire Department EMTs and Paramedics.

The questions that have been aired are how the clinic staff and Lopez Fire Department’s emergency personnel will work together when a patient might benefit from care at the clinic, and if Dr. Wilson can continue to take phone calls from the Paramedics to provide guidance. Dr. Wilson and UW Medicine are addressing these issues in a positive and cooperative spirit. One example of progress already made: UW Medicine has agreed that ambulance patients may be taken to the clinic for treatment unless immediate helicopter transport is needed. This is new territory for UW Medicine. On the mainland and in the UW Medicine experience, an ambulance patient is not transported to a primary care clinic. UW Medicine is committed to learning what is needed and possible here.  Many of the concerns raised by the Fire Department have been agreed to, others are still under discussion, but none have been dismissed.

Our current system of emergency services/clinic interaction evolved over many years and that evolution continues.  All concerned have the same goal of providing the best patient care possible while adhering to Department of Health regulations. Over the next few years we anticipate adjustments in the clinic/emergency services interaction as we learn what works best for our community. There will be ample time to work that out between UW Medicine, the fire department and the public hospital district.  The process will be open to the community since all are public entities.

The Catherine Washburn Medical Association faced many difficult challenges during the process of finding a new partner.  We ended the search with a partnership with UW Medicine, the premier primary care provider in the country, which will make our great clinic even better.

We request patience from all, including our emergency services partner, as we complete the transition to UW Medicine over the next 8 weeks. The clinic and physical therapy staff are focused on transition work and do not need any extra pressure right now. As always, patient care and safety remain the primary concern of the clinic and the emergency services personnel.


Standing room only at the June 25 Town Hall 

More than 180 people came to learn about the new UW Medicine partnership with Lopez Clinic. After a 30-minute presentation by the CWMA, Dr. Wilson, the new Public Hospital District commission president and Jay Priebe and Debra Gussin of UW Medicine, the audience was invited to “join the conversation.” For the next hour, islanders made comments and asked questions ranging from their personal insurance coverage to the new options for physical therapy, death with dignity, community needs and much, much more.

For those who couldn’t attend, the meeting was recorded and is available:
Click Here to Listen



Physical Therapy Update

June15, 2017

When Island Hospital announced they were terminating their long-standing lease and operating agreement for the Lopez Island Medical Clinic, there were two separate groups that were affected. The first was the family practice providers and staff. The second was the physical therapy group, which operates as an outpatient satellite of Island Hospital Physical Therapy.

When the CWMA initiated discussions to find a new partner, physical therapy was included as a service of key importance to the island. In negotiations with UW Physicians Network, there was agreement that physical therapy is an important component of the medical team. All of their other family practice clinics partner with community-based independent physical therapists, and they chose to focus their resources on primary care. While they weren’t prepared to offer employment to the physical therapists, they offered that the physical therapists could lease their same space and utilize clinic support services while operating as a separate business.

Learning this news in early May, CWMA immediately began working with Terri Drahn, Kim Foley and Bobbie Holt to evaluate ways to maintain the program in the community. Several practices in the region were contacted to learn more about options and their experiences. A budget for an independent communitybased practice was developed. The current PT space is constrained and cannot grow, and there is a need for increased services, so CWMA is also exploring leasing separate space for them.

It is likely that financial assistance will be needed to support the group, which has operated at a small loss the past two years. Unfortunately, reimbursement by government payers for physical therapy has declined by approximately 10% over that period. The physical therapists are working with CWMA and the Public Hospital District to explore what support can be provided. CWMA is assisting with transition costs. Island Hospital has agreed that physical therapy will continue as their program until the UW takes over operation of the family practice clinic in late September. It is anticipated that a plan to continue PT services will be complete by the end of June and that a successful transition will be made by the fall.




UW Medicine and Catherine Washburn Medical Association
Announce Partnership for Lopez Island Medical Clinic

May 12, 2017

UW Medicine and Catherine Washburn Medical Association (CWMA) announced today that they reached a partnership agreement in which UW Medicine will assume management of Lopez Island Medical Clinic.

This past April, UW Medicine announced a similar agreement with Orcas Medical Center. While UW Medicine will manage both clinics, the two entities will continue to operate independently. UW Medicine will employ telemedicine and other new technologies while drawing on the strengths of both communities to provide the best care possible. UW Medicine has historically played a key role in the San Juan Islands through Airlift Northwest, which provides access to emergency care not otherwise available. 

To ensure a successful transition, Island Hospital will continue to manage Lopez Clinic through September, 2017.  UW Medicine is working with Lopez Clinic staff this week to begin the transition process.

On Tuesday, April 25, Lopez voters passed a measure creating a public hospital district that will support the clinic through property taxes. The initiative received overwhelming support with 86% voting in favor. The public hospital district figures prominently in the new partnership by helping to create fiscal sustainability intended to cover expected financial losses.

“The CWMA board believes the partnership with UW Medicine will be excellent for Lopez Island,” said Marty Clark, president of the CWMA. “UW Medicine is one of the premier medical providers in the United States. We are very fortunate to have their outstanding expertise and support.”

“We are very pleased to announce our partnership with the Lopez Island community,” said Dr. Brian Goldstein, chief health system officer for UW Medicine. “UW Medicine has always provided medical care in rural communities and the expanded management role with both the Lopez Island Medical Clinic and Orcas Medical Center is a natural extension of our commitment to improving public health.” 



See Also:

Questions and Answers

All earlier published info


Have a question you'd like us to answer? Or want to review where we are? Please go to our Clinic Blog.

As Lopez Clinic and CWMA explore options for the clinic, we post the newest developments to keep the community informed.  All earlier published info is available on the blog. You can also go there to ask a specific question. Please visit our Clinic Blog.



Lopez Welcomes Christine Burnell
July 2015

It has been an eventful summer for Christine. Her oldest son Josh graduated from the University of Washington Medical School on May 2nd and began his residency in family medicine. Her youngest son Ari graduated June 6th from Chimacum High School. The following week, Christine herself graduated with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Washington. Within the month, the family moved onto their 1936 classic wooden sailboat in Shoal Bay. Christine began working full-time at the Lopez Clinic on July 7th..

Somehow Christine makes it look easy.

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Cathy Doherty Retires
July 2015

When she moved to Lopez in 1990, Cathy commuted to two off-island nursing jobs: Planned Parenthood in Mt. Vernon and Orcas Clinic. One day a friend encouraged her to consider Lopez Clinic. She was hired in 1992. "They wanted a women's healthcare specialist here," she remembers. With her master's degree in maternal-child nursing from the University of Washington, Cathy stepped right in, working part-time with Dr. Dengler, Lopez Clinic's first physician...

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Are We in Danger of Losing
Lopez Island Pharmacy?

Across the country, rural pharmacies are being forced out of business. Will Lopez become a statistic in this trend?

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Crystal Rovente Promoted to Clinic Manager
Summer 2014

Crystal Rovente's law degree from Syracuse University and experience managing a busy law firm in Binghamton, N.Y. were good preparation for becoming Lopez Clinic Manager.

Hired in Dec. 2013 as a part-time Patient Appointment Coordinator, Crystal was promoted to Clinic Manager last month following the resignation of Rachel Cory.

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Introducing Island Medicine, the new book about the clinic
Spring 2014

There was a great turnout last month when Dr. Bob Wilson stepped to the podium at Lopez Library, entertaining the audience with humorous stories of his early days at Lopez Clinic. Noting that the success of the clinic rests on the shoulders of the entire Lopez community, he recognized Dave Ashbaugh and Bob DiNicola for their particularly generous contributions, presenting each with a personalized copy of Island Medicine.

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Free Round-Trip Taxi for San Juan County Residents

San Juan County residents can now get free round-trip taxi service from the Anacortes ferry terminal to Island Hospital or hospital-operated clinic or outpatient service.

Click for details