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New group will explore island health care

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 23, 2011
  • Longboat Key
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A new group has formed through the Bay Isles Association to explore maintaining health services on Longboat Key. And, according to Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key Chamber of Commerce President Tom Aposporos and Commissioner David Brenner, both of whom attended the group’s Feb. 22 meeting, committee members are interested in working with Dr. Pamela Letts, of the Centre Shops Family Practice and Urgent Care, who began discussing last summer the difficulties of operating a year-round, for-profit medical practice on Longboat Key.

“This is very promising,” Aposporos said. “I think what will come forward is a cross-fertilization, a joining of efforts.”

Joseph Curl, a Bay Isles resident who has served as director of the Georgetown University Hospital Association and an adviser to the board of Sarasota Memorial Hospital, confirmed the formation of the committee, which he is chairing, last week. Curl did not return a voice message left Feb. 22.

“What we’re talking about is making sure there are medical services available on the Key,” Curl said last week.

Letts, Aposporos and Brenner traveled to the Gasparilla Island village of Boca Grande last summer to examine a model for providing health care for a population similar to that of Longboat Key: the Boca Grande Health Clinic, which is able to offer year-round health-care services to the community’s seasonal population through a non-profit foundation that subsidizes the clinic’s expenses. Letts plans to hold two exploratory meetings on the issue in March, followed by a larger community meeting in April.

Brenner said that the group seemed to be in the early stages of exploring the issue.

“I think they saw that basic health care on the Key was a real concern for them,” Brenner said. “They agreed that they’ll be much more productive doing this together than separately.”

Letts, who established a board for her clinic last year to explore the issue of establishing a foundation to raise funds, said that she would welcome the group’s participation on her board.

“The more the merrier,” she said. “If Boca Grande can have 52 members on their board, we can certainly have five more on our board.”

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]