Hospital candidates highlight Valley needs

Tim Noonan, Dariel Norris and Gene Pollard will be on Primary Election ballots.

  • Friday, July 19, 2019 3:51pm
  • News

This Primary Election, King County Public Hospital District 4 has three commissioner positions open, though only one position will be on Primary Election ballots.

Jen Carter is running unopposed for Position 4, and Kevin Hauglie remains the sole pursuer of Position 5 after three other candidates withdrew.

Position 2 represents the only race, with three candidates vying for the spot: Tim Noonan, Dariel Norris and Gene Pollard.

These candidates were asked the same question.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: multiple attempts were made to reach Tim Noonan. Noonan was traveling and unable to provide a response before the Valley Record’s deadline.)

As a commissioner, what will you do specifically to ensure district tax dollars go directly toward addressing Snoqualmie Valley health needs?

Dariel Norris: It is important to me that all who live in King County Hospital District 4 have their health care needs met. The hospital district prepared a Community Health Data Assessment Report in 2016. Page 6 of the report identifies the “Significant Health Needs” of the Snoqualmie Valley and surrounding areas. The significant health needs include, “Access to health care, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, mental health, overweight and obesity, preventative practices (vaccinations and screening) and smoking.” Each of these need preventative information and identification of practices that need to be employed as a pathway to improvement. As a nurse, the last sentence is of critical importance to me.

To achieve a pathway of improvement, the hospital district can supply, inform and support the community. Some ways to accomplish these goals would be by conducting health fairs with free classes on nutrition, safe exercise, home safety for all, and outreach to senior and community centers where blood pressure screenings would be provided.

In regard to “mental health,” I have been a board member on the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network for five years. The network provides outreach and classes for youth in the Valley to address major health care needs. I was the keynote speaker for the 2019 Gala. I also participate in the “Key Leader Summit” sponsored by the network. This is an opportunity for Snoqualmie Valley leadership to come together and brainstorm ideas to create a safe and healthy community.

My goal for the next six years is to continue to find ways to be fiscally responsible in use of tax dollars in the operation of the hospital so we have funds for community education and activities which promote the overall health of Snoqualmie Valley community.

Gene Pollard:

The question from the Valley Record is, “What will (you) do specifically to ensure district tax dollars go directly toward addressing Snoqualmie Valley health needs” … in 300 words or less. A tough assignment, because the hospital district comprises a large territory from Snoqualmie Pass to Preston, North Bend to Snoqualmie (both historic and the Ridge), plus Fall City and Carnation, as well as the rural areas in between.

We should remember that Valley tax dollars come from two sources — local property taxes and federal taxes. To meet “Valley health needs,” I will continue to encourage the board of commissioners to move immediately to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). This is required every three years by both the IRS and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Our hospital district is overdue in meeting this requirement. The CHNA is specific and, when done properly, will identify the Valley’s specific health needs.

A good CHNA was conducted under contract in 2013. A poor one—in my opinion— was done in 2016 just to meet the requirement, but did not adequately address specific Valley health needs. (It was mainly a compilation of data from Overlake Hospital, a “quick and dirty” way of meeting the requirement without adequate local input.) Home health care is one of the needs I hear from the public, because it’s hard to find out here. Another need is more and better public information about health care broadly-speaking, especially preventative care.

I did a master’s thesis on “Increasing Public Participation in Government,” and this is where the hospital district is falling down. Virtually no one attends board meetings as they did in the past. Outreach, including through the Valley Record, is minimal.

My 300-word limit is reached, and I’m just getting started. Please see the Voter Pamphlet.

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 6, and the general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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