Commission meetings are scheduled for the first and third Wednesdays of every month, 3:30 p.m., at the Jefferson Healthcare Victor J. Dirksen Conference Room (located on the 1st floor the Emergency and Specialty Services Building) 834 Sheridan.
Jill Buhler was appointed to the commission in 1995 and has been reelected three times. Buhler brings to the commission a professional journalism background that enables her to analyze and evaluate complex issues; high standards and strong ethics; and a long-time knowledge of the community.
The daughter of Port Townsend High School graduates who chose a military lifestyle, she has a lifelong affiliation with Jefferson County, spending summers here with family and friends. In 1988, following a successful career as an award-winning magazine editor and writer, Buhler returned permanently to Port Townsend.
Buhler has served the commission as Chief Governance Officer for three terms; is on the Executive Quality Council and the liaison on the Jefferson County Board of Health; was on the Finance and Health Access committees; and attended surgical section and medical staff meetings. Statewide, she was appointed to the Washington State Hospital Association’s Governing Bodies and Legislative Reform Committees and the Education Task Force, and has been a featured speaker at state conferences. For the past 10 years, Buhler has advocated on behalf of rural hospitals to congressional representatives in Washington, D.C., and state representatives in Olympia.
She has a long history of community involvement including Chamber of Commerce president, Kiwanis treasurer, Northwest Maritime Center secretary; committee work for Centrum, the city of Port Townsend and the Elks club; and Guardian ad Litem for Jefferson County.
Buhler strongly believes that, "High quality basic health care is the very foundation of a viable, thriving community. We must and we do provide access to excellent care to all of our citizens, regardless of their ability to pay. If those of us who are financially vulnerable are forced to delay care until an emergency exists, it costs much more. It’s imperative to get our people into our system early, when they can benefit the most, treatments cost less and they can remain productive. It’s simply the right thing to do—ethically and economically." She invites you to email comments, ideas, concerns or questions to her at the address listed above. Commissioner Buhler's current term expires December 2019.
As the senior commissioner, having served over 40 years, I still find my service on the Board very rewarding, though, on occasion, challenging, and filled with new learning experiences. I feel that my commitment to the healthcare of our community is as strong as ever.
I have been privileged to have the opportunity to work with many exceptional people, those serving on the Board and, especially, those providing care.
I was recruited to join the then-inactive Board of Commissioners for Jefferson County Public Hospital District No.2 in 1973 to work toward a stable, countywide, emergency medical service system. Although this proved not possible, the Board was in place to respond when the Sisters of Providence, operators of St. John’s Hospital, announced in 1975 that they were leaving the area and would no longer provide service. The District, funded by a voter-approved bond, purchased the facility and has grown it into the integrated healthcare system it is today.
Born as the fourth generation of a Port Townsend family committed to serving this community, it was natural for me to continue that tradition of giving back. I have fulfilled this commitment through many roles, including helping to develop the county and regional Emergency Medical Services Councils, as a firefighter/EMT, volunteer with Port Townsend Fire and paid with Port Ludlow Fire, as an instructor, Radiological Defense Officer and interim Civil Defense director for Jefferson County, and in many other areas.
I literally grew up in a family-owned building materials company here and have spent most of my working career in that field. I am now retired, I have more time for my family, being “PaPa” to five wonderful grandchildren, and hobbies such working in our yard, puttering in my shop, learning the art of stained glass and pursuing “treasures” at local garage sales.
Though I stay busy, I am always looking for new challenges, opportunities to serve and new learning experiences. Commissioner De Leo's current term expires December 2017.
Marie Dressler, RN
Marie Dressler, RN, was elected to the commission in November 2009 and took her seat in January 2010. She was born, raised, and educated in England, where she became a registered nurse and certified nurse midwife. Residing in Jefferson County since 1981, Dressler was employed for 26 years by the hospital district, working as a registered nurse and primarily providing direct patient care to mothers and babies in the Family Birth Center.
After taking early retirement in 2008, Dressler’s strong desire to continue contributing to the health and well-being of Jefferson County residents manifested as a bid for a position on the commission. She brings 40 years of practical health care experience to her board position, along with management skills learned through two decades of involvement in a small family business and insights gained through employment with a leading pharmaceutical company. Dressler has been a dedicated patient advocate throughout her nursing career. She believes that administrative decisions must take into consideration the effect on patient care. Dressler says that one of her major goals is to ensure that all patients have access to health care services in a timely manner. She also would like to see additional medical specialists available to county residents, as patient needs dictate, even if only on a part-time basis. In addition to her commitment to patient care, Dressler is a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility. She believes that the financial status of the hospital district can and must be improved. Commissioner Dressler's current term expires December 2021.
Matt Ready was elected to the hospital board in November 2013 and assumed office January 2014. Matt worked at Jefferson Healthcare for 15 years up until the day he was elected to office. His career at Jefferson Healthcare began in the Information Systems department where he worked as a computer technician, application specialist, database administrator, and briefly as the Interim Director. In 2007, Matt joined the Performance Improvement Department where he worked as a workshop facilitator, data analyst, and problem solver. In seven years with the Performance Improvement Department Matt lead over 30 improvement workshops and facilitated 50 focused improvement projects with at least one project in virtually every area of the Jefferson Healthcare system.
Matt brings to the board intimate knowledge of operations as well as a deep understanding of the district’s internal strengths and weaknesses.
Matt believes the purpose of a hospital district is to foster a healthy community. To do that, our hospital district must work relentlessly to ensure that all residents have access to affordable high quality healthcare for all their healthcare needs. The job of the commissioners is to continuously and rigorously assess the healthcare needs of the community and help guide the hospital district to ensure those healthcare needs are met. Matt is committed to leveraging his skills and experience to collaborate with the current board of commissioners to achieve that fundamental purpose and help our community be the healthiest it can possibly be. Matt welcomes your comments and feedback. Commissioner Ready's current term expires 2019.
Dr. Kees Kolff
Dr. Kees Kolff joined the Hospital District Board in 2016. He and his wife moved to Jefferson County in 1997 where he has served as president of Jefferson Land Trust and as founding chair of the Jefferson County/Port Townsend Climate Action Committee. He spent 4 years on City Council, served 2 years as Mayor, and is currently president of the Jefferson County ReCyclery. Kees and Helen founded and live in the Port Townsend EcoVillage. They have a daughter Adri who lives in Seattle with her husband Randy and 2 children, Adam and Cora. Kees (pronounced “Case”) is the Dutch nickname for Cornelis. He was born in the Netherlands where universal healthcare has worked well for 100 years. He and his family immigrated when he was 5 and his high school senior speech was on the need for a single-payer healthcare system.
Kees obtained an MD and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard and his Pediatric training at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington. He served 2 years with the Centers for Disease Control in Puerto Rico and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UW. In 1978 he joined the newly forming Sea Mar Community Health Centers in Seattle, where he served as Medical Director until 1995, helping establish clinics for under-served populations in numerous western Washington counties.
“I believe that healthcare is a right - for everyone. I will work to maintain a fiscally strong district where the providers and support staff offer quality, continuity care. I will help develop and implement Community Health Improvement Plans that create partnerships to address the 4 major health priorities in our county: 1. access to medical and dental care, 2. access to mental health and substance abuse care, 3. immunizations and 4. healthy eating, active living and chronic disease prevention. Ultimately, the only way we can provide healthcare for all is if we join the rest of the developed world and establish a universal healthcare system. I will do what I can to help bring about such a system at the state and/or the national level.” Commissioner Kolff's current term expires 2021.