Advisory Council Makes a Difference

"As a former patient, I thought I could contribute some insight."

Some years ago, I had a hip replacement at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center. I'd had surgeries at two other hospitals with single-patient rooms, so being in a two-patient room was crowded at best. I had also heard mixed messages about the hospital while reading newspaper articles, both pro and con, for a new wing. From personal experience, I knew a new wing was essential.

A Pulse Magazine article asked for volunteers for a new Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) that was forming. Volunteers with recent experience within the WhidbeyHealth system were particularly sought. As a former patient, I thought I could contribute some insight. 

I was selected to serve along with ten other motivated people from various backgrounds. Under the leadership of Dr. Linda Gipson, WhidbeyHealth's Chief Quality Officer, we set out to define our goals and establish processes to reach them.

As customers, we expect to be treated efficiently, competently, and with respect regardless of circumstances, routine or emergency healthcare. If customers aren't satisfied, they won't use the services or facilities, and as a citizen won't vote to financially support the facilities. That would be unfortunate because I've learned just how really dedicated the physicians, nurses, technicians, support staff and the administration are to providing the best healthcare service for all their customers, whether patient or family member.

As chairperson of PFAC, I've attempted to keep the council moving forward. I believe we have made a difference as we've assisted individuals with issues ranging from quality of care to billing. We have provided insight into procedures, and are actively involved in various WhidbeyHealth committees dealing with quality, ethics and professional development. We are working on projects involving transitional care and advanced directives. Most of all, we've gained credibility with WhidbeyHealth staff and they listen to us.

Can we make a difference? My answer is a resounding "Yes!" 

Jill R. Usher, Captain, USN (Retired)
Chairperson, WhidbeyHealth Patient and Family Advisory Council


We have a vacancy on the council. If you're interested in serving, please contact