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. This is a huge task as it requires not only the many steps involved in establishing a business but also the process of our therapists being credentialed with insurance payers and the negotiating of contracts from these payers. This process can take 2-3 months to complete.

The clinic based physical therapy will end on Sept. 23. We will be closed the last week of September while we make the final transition to the private practice.

Lopez Island Physical Therapy will open on Oct. 2. Initially, we anticipate being able to see Medicare insured patients and patients that are able to pay by cash or credit card at the time of service. We will begin accepting additional insurance plans as the various insurance contracts are approved.

For the immediate future, we will retain our space in the clinic facility. However, we are actively evaluating other options in the village that will offer a larger space and allow our physical therapy practice to grow.

We are extremely grateful to the Catherine Washburn Medical Association board for its tremendous assistance in helping us keep physical therapy open, and thankful for the many individuals in the community who have offered us their encouragement and support with this endeavor.

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. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Alperin’s clinical training and experience include family medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics, surgery and pathology. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“My wife and I are delighted to be in the San Juans,” Alperin said. “We have long wanted to move here. It is a stunning place to live and a diverse community of wonderful people.”

From the late 1990s to 2010, he practiced in rural clinics in the Oregon towns of Sweet Home and Pendleton. While advancing into positions of leadership within healthcare, he returned to school to obtain an MBA from Columbia Business School in New York City.

Alperin also has served since 2002 in the United States Army Reserves; his deployments have included three tours of Afghanistan and Kuwait. In parallel with his civilian career, as he assumed greater leadership duties, he completed his masters in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Alperin and his wife Liz have three children, Emma, Sam, and Tess. His wife is beginning her second year as a science teacher at Orcas Island High School.

“A crucial aspect of delivering top-notch healthcare services is in developing deep and trusting relationships,” he said. “It takes time, commitment, and a genuine interest in people to do so. Our UW Medicine teams on the islands will be committed to just that: cohesive team-based care over the long haul.”

Alperin said he will divide his time between Orcas and Lopez Islands, to better understand the distinct needs and wants of both communities.

From Sept. 11 until Nov. 1, physicians from UW Neighborhood Clinics will provide coverage at the Orcas Clinic. UW Medicine will publish more information about the clinic opening, hours of operation and other details as they are finalized.

Update on Emergency Services and The Lopez Clinic

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

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.

Physical Therapy Update

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.