The key to a healthy future

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 9:45pm

The members of Block Island Health Services Board, after many years of conversation, have now embarked on an ambitious $7.5 million capital campaign designed to address the limitations of the Block Island Medical Center, especially in its trauma care unit.

One room that cannot accommodate more than one urgent care patient at a time is wholly inadequate to the needs of a community that exponentially increases in size on any given summer day.

Campaign Chair Susan Stover and BIHS Chair Cindy Baute have stated that the trauma center’s expansion is needed to address the kind of care any of us may need at any given point in our lives: whether it is a serious injury or some other kind of medical emergency. No one wants, or should, have to wait while they are having a heart attack. The expansion is not meant to meet the needs of the many bumps, bruises, and scrapes brought on by careless or even reckless summertime behavior, but rather to meet these more serious needs.

The directors of the campaign have wisely decided to begin physical improvements to the plant while the fundraising efforts are on-going so that those expanded services may be met sooner than later.

The campaign will also raise funds to purchase a property that can offer more stable housing for residents and specialists that come to the island. These professionals either stay at the Thomas Property, or are put up in private homes. The Thomas property, however, is part of the proposed housing project for town employees and so it may, at some point in the future, be unavailable for that use.

Finally, the capital campaign is meant to add $3 million to the Medical Center’s endowment, which is always stressed and shouldn’t be.

Block Island, as we have seen from many instances in the past, is an exceedingly generous community, and it is time to turn to that generosity again.

The island is growing. It’s becoming more sophisticated in its needs and its services. The Medical Center must grow along with it.

Susan Stover said something important. A fully functioning Medical Center is key to a strong economy. Healthy residents, including the community’s children, and guests, are the key to a successful future. We have one Medical Center, and we should support it financially in a way that future deserves.