A public-private collaboration between Peninsula Pharmacies, Ocean Beach Hospital and Willapa Counseling Center, the new medical facility in Ocean Park has to be counted as one of the Peninsula’s most significant developments in years.

Peninsula Pharmacies, which paid for construction, deserves the Peninsula’s appreciation. An outstanding corporate citizen, Peninsula Pharmacies has made a noteworthy investment in our wellbeing.

Although located in Ocean Park, this new healthcare asset will draw from a considerably larger population. Combined with Surfside, Oysterville and Nahcotta, the entire North Peninsula community totals close to 5,000 year-round residents — roughly the same as the Peninsula’s south half. The north half includes a stark mix of wealthy, middle-class and economically disadvantaged residents, and it is a prime driver of Pacific County’s overall demographic trend toward older residents. The most recent federal census showed the area north of Cranberry Road accounting for the county’s overall population growth.

Ocean Beach Hospital’s board and foundation, along with the Peninsula’s other healthcare leaders, have been thinking for years about how to better serve the North Peninsula’s population.

The new facility addresses several goals:

• The drive between Surfside or Ocean Park and OBH’s existing facilities in Ilwaco is a daunting prospect for the area’s senior citizens. With completion of the new clinic, seemingly countless trips from Ocean Park to Ilwaco will not have to be made by seniors and sick people who will now have their own local clinic.

• Lab work will be done at the clinic, an important thing for those on blood thinners and other medication. This will be an advantage even for our relatively well-off part-time residents, some of whom increasingly can’t visit their beach homes as they have medical needs.

• The clinic will provide the ability to obtain walk-in care. A new family medicine physician, Dr. Tobi Thaller, will practice at the clinic, and OBH’s established care providers also will be spending time in Ocean Park. This clinic will take the pressure off the Ilwaco campus and thus help patients there receive more timely appointments.

Ocean Beach Hospital and its clinics in Ilwaco, Naselle and Ocean Park are funded by the citizens via tax dollars. At a time when political decisions are disrupting the insurance market and the Affordable Care Act, homegrown support for healthcare can make the difference between obtaining local care or being forced to seek it elsewhere. A failure to provide affordable healthcare would cripple south Pacific County’s social and economic viability.

Ocean Beach Hospital Foundation, headed by Nansen Malin, provides vital supplemental assistance. The foundation is still is the process of raising funds to ensure the new clinic is appropriately equipped and furnished. The Ocean Park Clinic will hold a grand opening on Jan. 8, certainly an historic community milestone.

“Thermometer” signs on the Peninsula chart progress in raising a remaining $125,000 towards this goal. To donate, send a check to:

OBHF

P.O. Box H

Ilwaco, WA 98624

or donate online at www.oceanbeachhospital.com/foundation

Questions? Call: Nansen Malin 360-244-3294 or Tammie Jefferies 360-642-3181.

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