Thu, 04/11/2019 - 9:30pm

Medical Center records

The following was submitted to the Block Island Town Council and copied to The Block Island Times:

To the Editor:

The Medical Center is growing. The number and complexity of patients, the scope and quality of care continue to increase yearly.

Block Island Health Services is grateful for the consistent financial support from the Town of New Shoreham. BIHS has not requested any increase in funding during the last 3 fiscal cycles, despite adding services and infrastructure. For the 2020 fiscal year, BIHS is requesting $300,000.00, an increase of $40,000. This increased budget request reflects our growth. In 2017 the total number of patient visits was 4,922; in 2018 the total number of visits was 7,439: 5,605 clinic, 1,235 physical therapy, 369 wellness/risk reduction, 240 behavioral health. This represents a dramatic 51 percent increase in use of Medical Center services in one year alone. A modest 10 percent projected increase in 2019 will result in 8,183 patient visits to the Medical Center, not including ancillary services (dental, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, podiatry). The increase is due to the additional services we are providing and to an increasing dependence of Block Island residents on BIHS to provide their health care.

It is very rewarding as well as challenging to see how many islanders now consider the Medical Center to be their primary care home. Most notable among our added services are a thriving 3-day/week physical therapy program, behavioral health and counseling, a wellness and risk reduction program with medically supervised exercise, nutrition counseling, and women’s health services. We have implemented a sliding scale payment and financial assistance program based on national standards to remove barriers to essential health care services. In 2018 we also added clinical hours (medical center open) with support staffing both days of every weekend during the summer and shoulder season, and plan to continue this service next year.

In keeping with our growth, we are taking steps to ensure maximal accuracy, efficiency and timeliness in our coding and billing — essential for our financial viability --— as we simultaneously continue to be attentive to the needs of islanders and visitors. This year we engaged a professional firm to help us renegotiate our insurance reimbursement rates with the anticipation that this investment will increase our revenue and help us keep pace with the cost of the care we provide. We also engaged a company to assist us with our medical coding to ensure we are complying with insurance and Medicare mandates. The goal of these current expenditures is to create sustainability by improving our revenue and implementing best practices. Both of these services require additional outlay of dollars spent now to invest in our future viability.

We have stretched our current staffing to the maximum. The increasing complexity and volume of our cases generates significantly more clinical work including ordering and following up on testing, treatments, and coordination with mainland services and specialists. We are above national standards of provider to patient visits/hour. In order to assure adequate staffing for safety and quality, and to minimize patient wait times, we plan to add a Physician’s Assistant for additional clinical support this year.

As a reminder, BIHS continues to provide care for the island 24 hours every day, 365 days a year. We provide care to all, regardless of ability to pay, and daily provide services to persons without insurance. We provide ongoing educational community outreach on important topics such as opioid abuse through community presentations and preventive health articles. We collaborate with other island services to proactively identify needs of the island community and work closely with Senior Advisory Committee and NAMI-BI and provide medical control and educational (CEU) activities for the Rescue Squad.

We are grateful for the continued support of the taxpayers and the Town of New Shoreham and look forward to meeting the medical needs of the community with the highest standard of care. Please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.


Mark Clark 
Medical Director and CEO


Storage of mopeds

The following letter was submitted to the Block Island Town Council, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Gov. Gina Raimondo, the Block Island Fire Chief, House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and State Sen. President Dominick J. Ruggerio:

To the Editor:

While driving on Water Street, in the downtown of the Old Harbor District of Block Island, I noticed a light on inside a closed restaurant. I stopped to see why the light was on, only to find it was a reflection off of a moped mirror. I took a picture of a number of mopeds in the restaurant.

I am very concerned that this is a potential hazard for obvious reasons. I spoke to others about this and I was told that this situation has been described to the Rhode Island Fire Marshall’s Office before, but no action was taken. I am also given to understand that there are other buildings on Block Island used in the same manner. I said I would make an inquiry. Could you please tell me if this is legal and safe?

I am sending this to the most obvious people I can think of with oversight for such matters since, if true, previous inquiries have resulted in no response.

Thank you,

Christopher Warfel

High Street


Thank you, BIHS

To the Editor:

This past month we both needed help and assistance at the Medical Center.

A very special thank you to Liz Dyer and Linda Closter for their warm and caring professional help. They certainly have our gratitude and appreciation.

Sally and Paul Marte

West Beach Road