The City of Montesano is moving away from Grays Harbor Public Hospital District #2, and will ask to be included in District #1 instead. The council this week passed a resolution withdrawing from District #2, which was formed 4 years ago to support Grays Harbor Community Hospital and authorizing the mayor to negotiate with District #1 which serves East County through Summit Pacific Medical Center.

Mayor Vini Samuel told the council before the unanimous vote, “I’m bringing this to you because I believe that we will find more care providers that stay in the harbor and that has been a large problem.”

Councilman Dan Wood said in a statement after the meeting that “The purpose would be to pursue a new clinic in Montesano.”

District #2 board Commissioner, and finance committee chair, Miles Longebaugh said that the district would lose more funding than the levy with the move, “That could impact the district negatively. Obviously, there’d be a loss of tax revenue as you guys represent roughly 15% of the funds to our district through the levy. Obviously, there’d be a migration of services to the new clinic that you guys would want to be building out here.”

District #2 Board chair MaryAnn Welch added that other services would leave the harbor, “If this city wants to go in a different direction, which I believe it will because if you are aligned with Summit the imaging, lab, all those services will go up the road instead of to Grays Harbor Community Hospital where people will turn when they really need something.”

She added that the recent email on the topic was the first the district had heard of the city’s interest in moving. “It’s apparent that there was no discussion with either community hospital representatives or with our public hospital district board of representatives over the last 18 months of exploring options.”

Mayor Samuel said that Montesano taxpayers currently contribute $150,000 through their levy in District 2. Wood noted that represents less than .075% of the total revenue for Community Hospital, he did not mention the percentage of the district’s levy revenue.

Welch also noted that the move would hinder Community Hospital’s plans to convert their 4 primary care clinics, including 1 in Montesano, to rural health clinics and to a cost-based revenue model.