A Legal Timeline

  • In Fall of 2012, part-time resident Monica Harrington organizes Coalition for Healthcare Transparency & Equity. They meet just before the September 18, 2012 SJCPHD Commissioner meeting and then circulate a letter to the Hospital Commission at that meeting.     Text of letter
  • “After getting access to the agreement between PeaceHealth and the San Juan Island hospital district commissioners through a public records request, I asked the ACLU to review it as well. I subsequently drafted and was one of more than a hundred signatories to a letter asking State Senator Kevin Ranker to seek an opinion from the Attorney General with respect to whether the agreement entered into by the hospital district commissioners on San Juan Island with PeaceHealth violated WA state law or the Washington State Constitution.”  Monica Harrington from a letter she later wrote to the Department of Health regarding the Certificate of Need.                                                     Monica CofN Comments DOH Aug 5 2013
  • January 2013 Subsequent to being contacted by Monica Harrington of the Coalition for Health Care Transparency and Equity, ACLU sends letter to SJPHD #1, stating: “It has come to our attention…”                                2013-01-03 ACLU Ltr to SJCPHD (2)
  • August 2013 AG Opines – partially. Though political activists cite his opinion for their purposes, the AG intentionally does not offer an opinion about what constitutes “substantially equivalent benefits, services or information”, about how a PHD might comply with an obligation to provide them, or whether the PHD could meet any lawful obligations through a provider in the district other than the PIMC. He also states that “Nothing in I-20 requires that a public hospital district provide maternity care benefits, services, or information to women.”                                                 http://www.atg.wa.gov/ago-opinions/whether-public-hospital-district-violates-rcw-902-if-it-contracts-provider-health-care
  • February 2013 Various advocacy and legal organizations (including Monica as Washington Women for Choice) send  “comments” to the DOH as to what assurances they want regarding the Certificate of Need application made by Skagit County and United General Hospital.  Letter to DOH re CON UGH from various
  • April 2013 Various political activist groups, including Monica Harrington, as co-chair for Washington Women for Choice, provide their comments on the Certificate of Need Application for Peace health and United General Hospital.  CON comments re UGH
  • May 2013 ACLU and company, including Monica Harrington with Washington Women for Choice, request Governor Inslee institute an immediate 6 month moratorium on Certificate of Need applicationsACLU Hospital Mergers Ltr to Gov
  • June 2013 Gov Inslee sends a reply back to the ACLU, et. al. sharing their concerns, but stating he does not have the legal authority to do what they’re asking.   He will, however, direct the Department of Health to immediately begin rulemaking to update the Certificate of Need process. Gov response to ACLU
  • June 2013 Gov Inslee directs Washington State Department of Health to commence rulemaking in an expeditious and efficient manner. Gov directive to DOH
  • Dec 2013  DOH files the revised code, to be implemented Jan 2014. DOH Appeal news
  • June 2014 Thurston County Superior court rules to invalidate the new code and subsequent appeals lead to the Washington State Supreme Court. Thurston County
  •  Feb 2015 ACLU sues Skagit Regional Health over abortion accesshttp://www.goskagit.com/all_access/aclu-sues-skagit-regional-health-over-abortion-access/article_31efa939-1358-546d-b50a-31a941f28c93.html

    “The suit is part of a larger ACLU effort to ensure that hospital districts statewide comply with the act. It has sent letters to three other hospital districts it believes are not complying with the law in Mason County, Jefferson County and Whidbey Island”

“The ACLU of Washington is ramping up and aggregating funds to fight for a state-wide solution, the first in the country…” Valerie Torico Article

“It makes perfect sense that the ACLU would file a lawsuit in Skagit first. I believe the issues decided in that case will apply to several hospital districts around the state and will make litigation against the SJI public district even easier. The ACLU has already made clear that this lawsuit is part of a broader initiative to bring ALL public hospital districts into compliance with State law.” Monica Harrington’s Opinion Piece

  • July 2015 Washington State Supreme Court rules unanimously in favor of the Washington State Hospital Association and against the Department of Health and all the entities that tried to circumvent the legislature and achieve their purposes through Direct order. Unanimous Supreme Court decision
  • July 2015 ACLU sends letter to SJPHD Board of Commissioners, along with several other Washington Hospitals/Hospital districts, in a statewide effort to assert they are not in compliance with the Reproductive Privacy Act.       07-08-2015 ACLU-WA Letter to San Juan PHD1

Note: At the inception of this partnership between Peace Health and SJCPHD, when the contract was created, it was carefully reviewed by SJCHD Board attorneys,  as well as, Peace Health attorneys. It was also submitted to the Washington State Auditor’s office & assistant attorneys general for the State of Washington. The contract met the requirements of all.

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