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Meeting on Health Care

Vashon HealthWatch, the island group that organized a recent community meeting on health care, is inviting Islanders to a follow-up meeting May 30th.
"The affiliation of our clinic with Franciscan Health is a done deal, but there are still important steps Islanders might take," said Kate Hunter, member of Vashon HealthWatch.
The meeting to discuss and plan those steps will be held Thursday, May 30th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the basement multipurpose room at Chautauqua Elementary School.
The recent April meeting was informative but left questions in the minds of many. Mark Benedum, CEO of Highline Health and Dianne Kielian, a senior administrator with Franciscan Health, assured islanders that nothing will change in the range of health care options offered at the clinic or at Highline Hospital and that, in fact, quality will improve as they bring electronic record keeping on line here.
On the other hand, when Tim Johnson, President of the Vashon – Maury Community Council asked if the physicians at the Vashon Clinic would be required to sign a contract committing themselves to abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Franciscan representative replied, "Yes."
The Directives forbid abortion, most birth control, most forms of pregnancy enhancement, and participation in Washington State’s "Death with Dignity" Act.
"How does Highline/Franciscan get around the Directives?" asked Hunter?
At the April meeting, Mr. Benedum said Highline would welcome formation of a Vashon Island health advisory council to work with him. May Gerstle, a Vashon HealthWatch member, has been working on how such a council might form and, at the upcoming community meeting, will outline the work so far. "This is a positive step we can take to ensure open communication," she said.
The audience will be invited to propose other ideas. Vashon HealthWatch wants this to be a working meeting.