"To make an untrue statement with intent to deceive." (Merriam-Webster)

At the June Hospital District meeting, outgoing superintendent Elaine Komusi claimed that we had suggested the community survey in hopes that people would submit inflammatory comments about clinic staff members, and that we would then publish those comments in order to damage those staff members' reputations. Unity Care COO Shanon Hardie replied that she had supported the survey but now felt that we had "duped" her.

This is crazy.

The next day, we sent Shanon Hardie and the district commissioners and superintendents an email saying we never had any intention to do such a thing and still do not. It also included the following statements:

You said last night that you felt you had been duped about the purpose of the community survey. Yes, you have been duped - but not by us. As in numerous other occasions, our intentions were wildly misrepresented by the Hospital District.

...There was also discussion about “getting ahead” of this issue. If that means claiming that we have malicious intent and defaming us for something we haven’t even done, as was posited last night, all you are doing is attracting attention to the fact that there is damaging information in the survey. Is that really what you want to advertise? That would just raise the interest of others who may not treat the data as responsibly as we would.

If you have been led to believe that our purpose in suggesting the survey was to gather inflammatory comments to damage peoples’ reputations, then whoever is leading you to that belief is the one who is duping you. We think it’s telling that, once again, the District's staff jumps to the worst possible conclusion and sees everything as a threat. We are left to wonder yet again if we care more about the viability of the District while the people running the District care primarily about themselves.

We were surprised that Elaine Komusi brought up such sensitive material at a public meeting. That was reckless. After the meeting, our goal, which we assumed would also be their goal, was to stop the spread of information in the survey results that could damage the reputations of clinic staff. After receiving no response from the district to our email exchange with Unity Care, we sent Elaine Komusi a letter demanding that she correct some of the numerous false and inflammatory accusations she has made about us in public meetings including this one. Yet despite all that, the July All Point Bulletin published her quote even though no one from that paper attended:

Why is she intentionally drawing so much attention to something she claims will damage the reputations of clinic staff whom she also claims to be so concerned about?

Here are excerpts from our demand letter relating to this claim: was after your statements at the June 14, 2018 Hospital District meeting that we knew we could no longer sit idly by while you ruin our reputations as you depart your position as a public official.

...2.) At the District’s June 14, 2018, 7:00 pm regular meeting at the Point Roberts Community Center you stated the following about us.

“Um, the other, the other thing I wanted to bring up is around the survey, just talking about your survey that you do and we did ours back in, starting back in November, um, it was also on the list, um, for this public records request. [e.] So we all knew that request was going to come that these two people were going to put their hat in the ring to get a copy of those, um, those, that data and that has come true.”

[f.1] “...and unfortunately there’s some pretty harsh, negative feedback and what will (stated emphatically) happen is that it will (stated emphatically) end up on the small point bulletin and that will do us damage and we have to be prepared for that and I don’t know what you guys are going to do to get out ahead of that. It’s very unfortunate, ah, [f.2] it’s damaging people, it’s damaging reputations and I am very worried about how it will be posted there along with any assumptions that are made relating to that feedback. [g.1] Um, I think that when we put the survey out there the expectation from the public was that it would be private. Certainly if I was participating in a community survey my expectation would be that, that survey data was, was private and confidential. [g.2] So personally, I actually feel very sorry for the public that we’ve done that to their, their comments. I think that, I think that if we’re going to do a community survey again I think we need to take that into account, the balance, um either we disclose right out of the gate before you answer this survey [g.3] you need to know it can be made public in any forum that someone so choses to make it public. Um, and then we see what kind of response we get.”

Statement [e.] is the set up for statements [g.1-3]. Together, they imply that we suggested the public survey in hopes that people would submit derogatory comments about clinic staff and then we would publish those statements on our website to harm staff’s reputation(s). All of that is false. We asked for the survey results because they had not been released for months and there was no evidence they were being used address the drop in utilization.

Statements [f.1 and f.2]] explicitly state as fact that what will happen is we will publish the statements on our website and that it is damaging people and reputations. These statements are false and illogical. How does Mrs. Komusi know what we will or will not do? And how can something we have not done and have never had any intention of doing damage people or reputations?

These six statements, singularly or as a whole, are particularly outrageous and egregious. They will be catastrophic to our reputations because they are ascribing motives and intentions to us that we did not and do not possess. People will doubt our intentions, our credibility will be ruined, and our reputations for telling the truth will be called into question. People will be angry with us and feel “duped” by us. If we had such horrible motives about the survey, no one would ever believe us again about anything. And finally, we are being set up for being blamed for Unity Care leaving Point Roberts...

Despite having our commitment to not publish inflammatory comments, she wrote an "editorial" for the July All Point Bulletin stating that she didn't know what we would do with the information, directly contradicting what she said at the meeting as quoted in that same paper:

In this "editorial", she also expressed concern for the privacy of survey respondents, even though the responses were already anonymous and our records request specifically asked the district to redact personally identifiable information.

Here is an image of our records request, published in the same paper.

She also listed multiple excuses for not completing the survey. However, when asked about the final survey results in the April meeting, she said, "So when I resigned (at the March 1 meeting), I said I wasn't going to take on any additional projects and that was one of the things I would leave to the new superintendent." So it was clear then that she didn't intend to do it.

To summarize:

Why all the lies?

Is she trying to deflect blame for her own mistakes as district superintendent? Had they analyzed and released the summary survey results themselves, we wouldn't have requested the raw data. Or is the situation at the clinic so dire that she's trying to discredit the results before anyone outside the district knows what they are?

And why would the All Point Bulletin publish a quote that advertises the existence of potentially damaging data in the survey, a quote from a meeting they didn't attend that strongly contradicts what she writes in her "editorial", and an image of our records request that contradicts her expressed concerns about community privacy?

You can read our full demand letter here.

Shanon Hardie replied to our email right away. No one from the district replied. You can read our full email exchange here.

As always, the All Point Bulletin represented one side of an issue and failed to request comment from the other side.

We have yet to receive the data as of Sunday July 1, 44 days after requesting them.

Update July 2

We received an email from someone that reads in whole:

Why are you complaining? You got what you wanted.

We replied in part:

Here’s why Unity Care is leaving: it’s a smart business decision. That is the message we’ve been trying to send to the Hospital District. We’ve been trying to get them to open their eyes and protect the community instead of incessantly worrying about their "partnership" with Unity.

Unity leaving now leaves our reserves intact. If the clinic is reconstructed with a frugal manager, that $150k will give us two years with a pared down staff, two people, maybe three, but four was and is unsustainable. Hopefully, community outreach and community needs will become the focus of the clinic again.

By the way, since you asked what we’re “complaining" about, it’s the fact that people are lying about us to convince others that we want Unity Care to leave and the clinic to close.



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