Voters are being asked to support $10.25 million in once-in-a-generation upgrades to local health and senior care, including construction of a state-of-the-art Nehalem Bay Health Center and Pharmacy and renovation and modernization of the region’s only skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility for seniors, the Nehalem Valley Care Center.
Here are some facts about health and senior care in our community.
Did You Know?
• The existing and future Nehalem Bay Health Center and Pharmacy is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and as such maintains a policy of treating anyone regardless of ability to pay.
• The Health Center also offers a sliding fee scale based on individual ability to pay for health care services.
• The Health Center accepts many forms of health insurance, including Blue Cross-Blue Shield, as well as Medicare and Medicaid.
• The architectural design of the proposed new Health Center includes a dental suite and facilities for specialty care services (such as pediatrics and cardiology) not now available in the community.
• The current Nehalem Bay Health Center & Pharmacy last year had a total of 5,663 individual clinic visits and filled over 30,000 prescriptions.
• A much expanded pharmacy in a new, modern facility will be able to supply more over the counter products as well as prescriptions.
• Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden support construction of the new Health Center and Pharmacy and secured a $3 million federal appropriation for the project. The appropriation was included in congressional legislation passed in December 2022.
• The city councils and mayors of Wheeler, Nehalem and Manzanita unanimously endorsed a YES vote on the bond measure.
• Between the existing Nehalem Bay Health Center and the Care Center nearly 80 people are employed in health care in north Tillamook County, making the two facilities the largest employers in the area.
• The Nehalem Valley Care Center in Wheeler is the only skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility on the Oregon coast between Astoria and Newport.
• Tillamook County has one of the fasting growing senior populations in Oregon.
• In 2022, according to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicare Services more than 130 nursing homes closed in the United States, many in rural areas including three long term care facilities in Tillamook County.
• Renovation and modernization of the Nehalem Valley Care Center, allowing the long-established facility to offer better services and safety for seniors, as well as better working conditions for caregivers, will help ensure that skilled nursing and rehabilitation care is available in the future in our community.
• Passage of the Health District bond measure will provide resources to repurpose a portion of the Care Center to expand senior services, including memory care.
• Workforce housing in our community is, to say the least, scarce. Housing for health care and other essential workers presents a challenge the Health District is attempting to address.
• Repurposing the site of the old Wheeler hospital – also supported by the bond measure – is a critical step in developing health care and essential worker housing.
• You can find more information on the bond measure and the Health District’s proposal at: www.nehalemhealthcare.com
Follow the campaign on Facebook at Yes for Local Health Care www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100090438080823.