A most sincere thanks
To the Block Island Community:
Please excuse the fact that I did not write personal thank you notes. My handwriting is kind of compromised and I can’t even read it. I would like to thank the community of Block Island for their gifts and support during my illness. These include:
- The Block Island Fire and Rescue Department for ferry tickets and paying my electric bill for August.
- The Ladies Auxiliary for Visa gift cards.
- Interstate Navigation for helping me on and off the boat.
- June Reagan for her gifts and support.
- Town of New Shoreham.
- My children, Hillary, Jordan, Sean and Erik — couldn’t have done it without you.
And to all the community for the good wishes and support.
I will be back, I promise.
Pilot Hill Road
To the Editor:
The Block Island Medical Center is a valuable community resource that I am concerned about. There are two areas that are important to me. They are quality health care and governance of BIMC. First, it is my experience that the care provided by Dr. Clark and the rest of the medical staff is excellent. My opinion is based on treatment I have received for multiple heart procedures at hospitals here in R.I., in Florida, and at Massachusetts General Hospital, BIMC care, diagnosis and referral has been excellent.
However, care is dependent on retaining quality medical staff. The status of issues with key medical staff leaders should be regularly shared with the town manager and Town Council. The town provides significant financial support ($300,000 this year), in addition to facility and housing at no cost to BIHC. The town should be kept abreast of all issues involved in this significant human and financial investment.
This year the BIMC lost a nurse practitioner and almost our medical director. The reasons are still not known. While employee privacy is important, the right of the town leaders to be kept abreast of key employee status, complaints, and evaluations is paramount. We cannot be left in a situation like this past summer of not knowing who was going to be in charge or provide our care. The council must be diligent in providing oversight to BIMC and keeping citizens informed.
Governance at BIMC is not transparent and does not value community input. The Medical Center was established based upon community input, openness and a philosophy that the center was a community resource dependent on community input, use, and support. The bylaws that were in effect until August of 2018 reflected openness and community input. All meetings and agendas were posted in accordance with bylaws and the Rhode Island Open Meetings Act. Meetings were open to the public and minutes were kept and available for review. The meeting agenda was posted at the medical center, the Town Hall and the Post Office.
New bylaws were adopted by the BIHS Board of Directors effective Aug. 27, 2018. It does not appear that public input was considered in drafting the bylaws. The bylaws, unlike prior bylaws, do not require compliance with the R.I. Open Meetings Act. Meeting notices are required to be in writing to board members but there is no requirement for notice or posting for the public. In addition meeting agendas are not required. Meetings are held regularly but topics to be discussed at meetings are not required. The public is on their own to determine what meetings are important and what may be discussed. It is hard to understand why meeting agendas are not available in advance to the public.
The size of the board has been increased from 11 to 20 members. Two members continue to be elected from the public. The town and rescue, as before, each have a representative on the board. This increase to 20 dilutes the impact of the elected and publicly-appointed members. The rationale for this increase is questionable. The new bylaws also provide for a President/CEO and Medical Director. The same person can fill both roles. Contrary to statements made at BIMC meetings, the President/CEO is a "director, ex officio, with vote." The potential for conflict is clear when issues involving performance and salary are considered.
The bylaws, old and new, should be reviewed by the Town Council and by The Block Island Times to educate themselves about the rules that control the management of the BIMC. The town has a large stake in the BIMC and has a responsibility to ensure proper management and changes are made when needed. The town cannot say that it is not their responsibility to oversee the BIMC as it did earlier this past summer. The town will be renewing the agreement with BIMC later this year and should prepare ahead of time for amendments that will protect the town's investment and ensure the continuity of care. Dr Clark's position as President/CEO cannot be assured into the future. Nor can we be confident a replacement will have his health care and administrative skills.
West Side Road
To the Editor:
Our recent blood drive was a success. Thirty-four donors came forward. Some were island visitors.
A proclamation signed by the Governor was presented thanking the Block Island community for 40 years of blood donations. Most of the drives have taken place at Harbor Baptist Church. The church has already agreed to host five drives next year. Our last drive of this year is in November when we will exceed 4,000 units of blood given by Block Island people over 40 years.
With great thanks,
Peter Greenman, Coordinator
Rhode Island Blood Center
To the Editor:
The Committee for the Great Salt Pond would like to thank all the members that joined us for the annual meeting on Sunday, Sept. 8, and the Draper family for hosting the event at The Narragansett Inn and Steve Filippi for use of the audio equipment.
The meeting focused on the “fabric of the pond” and how many organizations and people are working on the pond every day.
We would like to thank all of the presenters from approximately 20 organizations that included the Town of New Shoreham, Harbors Department, pump-out boats, CGSP Water Quality testing, CGSP Annual Swim, The Nature Conservancy, the Block Island Conservancy, Block Island Maritime Institute, Oldport Launch, the Shellfish Commission, the oyster farmers, the kelp farmers, Community Sailing, the Block Island Club, the recreational sports and fishing businesses.
The meeting was special because of everyone that participated and presented a thread of the fabric of the Great Salt Pond.
The Committee for the Great Salt Pond