WhidbeyHealth Wire 9

AED Training at Scatchet Head Provides Community with Vital Resource

June 7, 2023

A serene morning overlooking Cultus Bay. Sunny and breezy, with cloudless skies and framed by the faint outline of Mount Rainier in the distance. Idyllic and peaceful. For residents of Scatchet Head Community, these views come at an important cost – being the furthest away from potentially life-saving medical care.

With its proximity to the southernmost point of Whidbey Island and the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry crossing, the Scatchet Head community isn’t as accessible as you may think. As perhaps the most geographically isolated area on the island, providing the Scatchet Head community with vital resources to help support themselves until WhidbeyHealth paramedics can arrive is crucial to ensuring a successful outcome of a cardiac event. “Our community’s topography is such that we have several ‘mini’ neighborhoods that are isolated from one another,” explains Maria Reyes, Scatchet Head Community’s manager. “The average age of our community is 59 years. If someone is having a cardiac event, every minute counts. Our Emergency Response Committee partnered with WhidbeyHealth EMS’s Community AED program to install multiple AEDs (automated external defibrillators), improving the survivability of cardiac arrest patients in our community.”

June 3rd, marked the first step in making the deployment of these life-saving AEDs a reality with official community training. WhidbeyHealth Emergency Medical Services conducted robust sessions throughout the day, that included hands-on training with the defibrillator devices. EMS personnel set up multiple practice stations around the community center and provided instructions for conducting CPR and the application of the AED. “Making AEDs available to our remote communities greatly improves the chances of survival from a sudden cardiac arrest,” noted Lead Medic, Robert May. “Our job today is to provide this community with the resources and training they need to stabilize their friends and neighbors until medical services can arrive.”

The two new AEDs have been installed and are ready for use. Like other AEDs across our island communities, the two in Scatchet Head are fully accessible by residents twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, three hundred sixty-five days per year by being installed outdoors instead of behind a non-accessible locked door.

In addition to AED training, May and the WhidbeyHealth team reviewed some of WhidbeyHealth EMS’s other community-centered trainings with the group throughout the day. SAIL (Staying Active and Independent for Life), ACT (Antidote, CPR, Tourniquet), and CABS (Child and Babysitting Safety) resources were displayed, encouraging members to engage in our other “non-emergency” services.

Sudden cardiac arrest has been described as the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. Recognizing the signs that a person’s heart has stopped, providing chest compressions, using an automated external defibrillator are absolutely essential steps to saving a life. If defibrillated within the first minute of collapse, the victim’s chances for survival are close to ninety percent (90%), decreasing by 7-10% each minute that passes. WhidbeyHealth EMS and the WhidbeyHealth Foundation have partnered to acquire grants for these life-saving AED’s and their effective placement in our communities.

WhidbeyHealth Emergency Medical Services would like to thank the Scatchet Head Community for their partnership and engagement, as well as the WhidbeyHealth Foundation for their support in securing these life-saving devices.

WhidbeyHealth Wire 8

Top Hospice Care in State for Fourth Quarter in a Row

April 17, 2023

WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care was honored with top marks by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) earlier this year for outstanding quality of patient care and family-caregiver experience. WhidbeyHealth has been at the pinnacle of hospice care for nearly a year now – showing that rural healthcare can provide first-class care.

The federal agency recognized WhidbeyHealth Hospice in two key areas of care: quality of patient care and the family caregiver experience. The decision to award our five-star rating is in part based on Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Provider & Systems (CAHPS) surveys and self-reported data. This mix of unique rural healthcare information, combined with standardized assessment surveys resulted in WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care’s 5-Star rating – the only recipient of such a score for nearly a year in Washington.

The family-caregiver experience survey asks family members about the patient’s hospice care, and if they would recommend the program to someone else. This survey focuses on provider communication with the family, the patient receiving timely help, and treating the patient with respect and dignity. In each of the three areas, WhidbeyHealth scored 5-10 points higher than the state and national averages, with ‘Treating patients with respect and dignity’ leading the way. WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care has a truly remarkable team, and these scores show exactly why we are so highly regarded in the field of Hospice Care.

WhidbeyHealth’s commitment to quality is shown in the outstanding care our team of hospice professionals deliver each day. CMS compares hospice services using an index of 10 indicators that assess the quality of care compared to the national average, with the highest possible score being a ’10.’ WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care met or exceeded every indicator resulting in a perfect score.

WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care provides high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care for people with terminal illness. We are committed to providing highly skilled symptom management and support for the terminally il, while living their final months to the fullest. Our hospice program provides services customized to the needs of each patient, from pain and symptom management to guidance for family members and bereavement services, to specialized services such as speech therapy or music therapy. WhidbeyHealth is proud of our commitment to provide compassionate, quality care services to our island community.

Learn more about WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care on our website: https://whidbeyhealth.org/hospice-and-palliative-care#hospice_care or call and speak to one of our hospice care professionals today.

WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care

101 N. Main Street

Coupeville, WA 98239


Reference: https://www.medicare.gov/care-compare/results?searchType=Hospice&page=1&city=Coupeville&state=WA&zipcode=98239&sort=alpha&tealiumEventAction=Landing%20Page%20-%20Search&tealiumSearchLocation=search%20bar

WhidbeyHealth Launches Behavioral Health Care


Whidbey Island Public Hospital District (WhidbeyHealth), announces the addition of Behavioral Health care to the services available to Island County residents. Behavioral Health care will be available in Oak Harbor and Freeland on April 3, 2023.

WhidbeyHealth is excited to announce the addition of Behavioral Health care services in two locations to serve residents and visitors of Whidbey Island. The new practice will see patients from our Walk-In Clinic Oak Harbor (Goldie Rd.) and Primary Care Freeland (Harbor Ave.) offices.

“Whidbey Island has long been without adequate behavioral health care for those who need it,” shared Dr. Garth Miller, Chief Operating Officer. “After years of work we are pleased to begin offering these services to our friends, neighbors, and community.” Miller continues, “Behavioral Health is much more than treating a psychological state (mental illness), but diagnoses a patient’s physical condition and supports strategic growth and progress for treating the holistic patient.”

At WhidbeyHealth we believe everyone on Whidbey Island deserves access to high-quality healthcare. WhidbeyHealth provides progressive, patient centric healthcare, a safety net when emergencies happen, and peace of mind knowing our team is standing by 24/7 to respond to the needs of Whidbey Island residents and visitors. WhidbeyHealth is comprised of the Medical Center in Coupeville, and ten (10) outpatient clinics across Whidbey Island.

Stay connected with us for current information at: https://www.facebook.com/WhidbeyHealth

WhidbeyHealth Board Passes Resolution to Appoint Next Chief Executive Officer


The Whidbey Island Public Hospital District (WhidbeyHealth) Board of Commissioners passed a motion today, February 16th, appointing Nathan S. Staggs succeed interim CEO Mike Layfield as the district’s Chief Executive Officer. The Board, Medical Staff and senior hospital leaders interviewed potential candidates recommended by the district’s health care management company, HealthTechS3. Mr. Staggs’ first day with the district will be March 22, 2023.

Mr. Staggs is a Hospital CEO with more than twenty (20) years of senior hospital and healthcare leadership experience, serving at hospitals in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Mr. Staggs will transition for two weeks with Mr. Layfield, ensuring a successful transition of strategic goals and planning – continuing the financial and customer service recovery initiatives started in 2022.

The Whidbey Island Public Hospital District’s Board of Commissioners is comprised of five (5) elected officials, representing the whole of Whidbey Island, WA. The Board is responsible for strategic direction and financial oversight of the hospital district. They meet monthly and act as liaisons between the hospital and community.

Stay connected with us for current information at: https://www.facebook.com/WhidbeyHealth

WhidbeyHealth Wire 7

Forecasting Bright Future for WhidbeyHealth in 2023

February 17, 2023

In early 2022, WhidbeyHealth faced significant financial peril along with operational, employee, medical staff, and community confidence challenges. Throughout 2022 the medical staff, hospital administration team along with the Board of Commissioners met the challenges to establish a solid foundation for growth and success in 2023 and beyond.

WhidbeyHealth has launched its commitment to be consumer-centric with organization-wide focus on customer service and the best possible quality of care. We are taking bold steps to create a place for patients to come for care, providers to practice, employees to work and proud volunteers to support our missions.

Our evolving culture places the patient first by focusing on delighting the customer. Everything we do, every initiative we take, every factor we prioritize is based on one concept: bringing value and respect to our patients, providers and staff.

The key priorities instituted for 2023:

  • Improved patient experience and customer service at every level.
  • Continue to pay competitive wages and benefits to our employees.
  • Recruit additional talented providers and staff.
  • Ensure the financial and cash position stability of our rural health system.
  • Advancing our quality and operational process improvement.
  • Implement 24/7 virtual health services throughout WhidbeyHealth’s ecosystem.
  • Improve wait times in our Emergency Room, Walk-In Clinics and the timeliness of Primary Care appointments through provider recruitment and virtual care.
  • Launch an outpatient behavioral health program.
  • Expand Radiology services and inpatient Swing Bed services.
  • Raise awareness of the WhidbeyHealth Foundation as a source for generating donations and grants.

We want to overcome the new normal narrative of staffing shortages, long waits in the ER and clinics suffered in 2022. By embracing process changes, workforce enhancements and addressing financial challenges, we will build trust and add value to our patients. We will provide enhanced virtual care services and add professional and frontline staff to improve the patient experience at WhidbeyHealth.

In addition to the 16 new providers added in 2022, we are actively recruiting specialized medical providers for Orthopedics, Surgery, Urology, Behavioral Health, Women’s Care and Family Practice. Whidbey Island has long been without Urology Care and adequate Behavioral Health programs. We intend to change that; providing the care you need for healthy living.

Virtual Care (telemedicine) has been available for some time now, but is generally used as an alternative to traditional primary care visits. We’re not just taking it one step further but making a significant leap into its potential applications. WhidbeyHealth is poised to implement expanded telemedicine – specifically for Emergency Care, Walk-In Clinic Care and Behavioral Health. It will make a dramatic difference in our customer service experience.

We restarted our Swing Bed program in 2022, and plan to grow the capability this year. Swing Beds, simply put, continues the inpatient rehabilitation support (i.e., after an illness, injury or surgery) that can be provided at WhidbeyHealth, regardless of whether the initial care was received here or elsewhere. Patients can receive their inpatient rehabilitation, while enjoying the comfort of being close to home and family.

Additional changes we are excited to debut in 2023:

  • The Radiology department will add Fluoroscopy (similar to X-Ray or MRI, but creates real-time video movements inside the body) allowing our doctors and surgeons to improve the care they provide while improving recovery and outcomes for the patients.
  • The Radiology department will upgrade our CT with the latest technology.
  • A new and upgraded electronic medical record system will be integrated throughout WhidbeyHealth.
  • After many years of distinguished service as a commissioner, Grethe Cammermeyer resigned as a board commissioner and the Board appointed Morgan Cooper.

Accomplishing these key objectives will impact the entire healthcare experience of our patients and visitors and reinforces our motto of “delighting the customer.” We’re committed to making each visit the best part of their day. Along with providing safe, quality care through continuous improvement in all out medical service lines, we want to exceed our patients’ expectations and improve the health of our community. That is a future we can all live with.

WhidbeyHealth Wire 6

Bright Future for WhidbeyHealth Launched in 2022

February 9, 2023

Our community-based healthcare system has taken critical steps towards strengthening its financial and operational processes along with improved relations with medical providers and all supporting staff. In essence, a strong foundation was laid for our success in 2023.

In early 2022, the hospital was on the brink of closure with less than five (5) days of cash and uncertain if we could make payroll. The Medical Staff had issued a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the administrative team. We were losing professional staff and hospital employees, as financial difficulties mounted. The hospital Board of Commissioners made a bold decision in March to contract with a recognized health care management company, HealthTechS3, to lead the realignment of WhidbeyHealth’s vast ecosystem.

A new interim financial management team was established and a financial reporting system implemented, resulting in days cash on hand that has increased every month. Today we have 45 days of operating liquidity with a longer term goal of 150 days. As financial operations and medical staff relations improved, we had departed medical providers and key hospital staff return to the hospital, as well as patients. The reorganized management team partnering with the medical staff received a very significant DNV hospital reaccreditation. That successful assessment validated that the hospital and clinics are meeting high national standards for safe quality care. The DNV team’s report made specific mention of many improvement areas over 2021.

Throughout the financial restructuring and improved medical staff dialogue, the quality of care at WhidbeyHealth never waivered.

Along with DNV other national accreditations were awarded across the spectrum of care at WhidbeyHealth. Several individual services were reaccredited for safe quality care:

  • Cancer & Oncology Care
  • Diabetes Education
  • Diagnostic Imaging Services
  • Laboratory Services
  • Hospice Care
  • Sleep Care

While many other healthcare systems slashed services and struggled to stay afloat in 2022, WhidbeyHealth raised wages for its employees to achieve competitive rates for the first time in several years. While improving the financial position was clearly goal one, new services, new equipment, new providers, and a talented array of employees were added during the year.

In addition, new services included swing bed support (inpatient transition to rehabilitation services) was restarted, a new clinic patient preregistration registration system was installed, the Freeland Primary Care clinic reopened, and hospice home medication delivery service implemented.

WhidbeyHealth also welcomed new providers, expanding the number of patients we can see in different disciplines from Primary Care to Women’s Care and Wound Care.

  • Dr. Baltes
  • ARNP Badger
  • PA Brazle
  • ARNP Burckhardt
  • Dr. Cayabyab
  • PA Cunniff
  • Dr. Dannhauer
  • Dr. Engel
  • Dr. Fogarty
  • PA Gomez
  • ARNP Johnstone
  • PA Mitchell
  • Dr. Minow
  • Dr. Murphy
  • NNP Ruddell
  • NP Walchenbach

New and talented leadership was added in Human Resources, Finance, Revenue Cycle, EMS, Information Technology, and to the Board of Commissioners.

Please join us for the upcoming 7th edition of the WhidbeyHealth Wire, where we will continue our story. We are no longer looking to survive, as we enter 2023. We see our future as a thriving hospital health ecosystem driven by sound management, financially sustainable, growth, quality care, memorable customer experiences, and what the healthcare landscape on Whidbey Island should look like in 2023 and beyond.

The WhidbeyHealth Wire 5

Annual Hospital Accreditation Awarded

February 7, 2023

In November 2022, healthcare evaluators from DNV conducted a no-notice survey by the national accreditation agency. WhidbeyHealth was proud to have earned high marks in their formal assessment.

Accreditation is a formal process of self-assessment followed by review and validation from an external organization. Surveyors evaluate a hospital’s level of performance as compared to established national standards, which sets the stage for systematic continuous improvement and excellent quality of care.

Led by Executive Director of Quality & Compliance, Shanna Harney-Bates, we successfully completed reaccreditation with very few suggested changes. These ‘surveys’ involve an on-site review by the accreditation organization (DNV) which is used by most hospitals in Washington State. While the accreditation is voluntary, we requested the accreditation as part of our commitment to deliver exceptional healthcare and maintain a culture of continuous improvement.

At the close of the survey, WhidbeyHealth was found to have four minor findings that needed improvement. What were those findings? Adjustments were needed in how we monitor exhaust hoods in our kitchen, additional emergency lighting tests, documented educational training, and process improvement for provider orders.

Our surveyors conveyed an overwhelming number of compliments to share about their experiences and interactions with our employees, providers and Board of Commissioners.

WhidbeyHealth’s next survey is expected sometime in the fall of 2023. We are committed to providing highly reliable healthcare throughout our Whidbey Island community, and we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our progress in achieving recognition for all the dedication and hard work to attain this recognition.

The WhidbeyHealth Wire 4

The New Normal in Healthcare

January 17, 2023

The new normal for Washington State hospitals is living with massive waves of new COVID-19 virus variations every few months, respiratory and flu outbreaks, long waits in our emergency rooms and clinics, financial difficulties, challenges recruiting and retaining staff, and availability of acute-care beds and post-care beds in nursing homes and other care facilities. The new normal has only served to exacerbate all these challenges.

Our emergency rooms are challenged with a new type of patient, referred to as a “boarder” – a patient held in an emergency room bed who no longer needs or qualifies to be there. These patients are waiting for transfer to a higher or lower level of care without beds available or the ability to safely relocate the patient. These patients are being held for several days, weeks, and sometimes months. Washington State has one of the lowest collective number of acute care and psychiatric beds in the nation. Occupying ER beds for extended periods of time means less access available for those needing emergency care.

There is no end in sight to the challenges of recruiting an retaining staff – doctors, nurses, and front-line personnel in healthcare across the State and Whidbey Island. The shortage of clinical professionals means that a hospital or assisted living facility being “at capacity” no longer means they are out of beds – rather they may have an excess of beds, but do not have the personnel to safely manage the care of additional patients.

A hospital may have 100 beds, but only 75 can be used due to staffing limitations. For those living along the I-5 corridor that means finding another hospital (if you can) sometimes hundreds of miles from Whidbey Island.

This is our “new normal” in healthcare. We are looking at progressive ways to ensure our patients can continue to receive the care when and where they need it, in the appropriate setting.

  • Upgrading our processes and technology to hire people more quickly, along with deploying recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Working with our congressional delegation to find funding.
  • Implementing virtual health strategies, including telemedicine for minor urgent care, available 24/7.
  • Improving through-put in our two walk-in clinics and expanding services in our newly re-opened Freeland Primary Care clinic.
  • Implementing outpatient behavioral health services both in clinic and virtual settings.
  • Introducing a new customer service program.

We strongly encourage the Whidbey community to utilize our Walk-In Clinics whenever possible. Everything we do is aimed at providing value to our patients, providers, employees, and community.

Together we will manage and improve healthcare services under the new normal, together.

Board of Commissioners Applications Open

January 4, 2023

Any persons interested in appointment to the Whidbey Island Public Hospital District’s Board of Commissioners must submit a written letter of interest as well as a professional resume.

The Board of Commissioners has five (5) seats, representing the population of Whidbey Island. Board members are considered “at large” so they are accessible to the full community and do not represent any specific geographic location. Board of Commissioner candidates can reside anywhere on Whidbey Island (within the hospital district).

For the Commissioner Application information, please visit our Board of Commissioner’s page: https://whidbeyhealth.org/about-us/board-of-commissioners.

APPLICANT DEADLINE: January 31, 2023 @ 5:00pm (PST)

Your Health Heroes, working for you 24/7


It’s that time of year – the holiday season. Filled with friends, family and loved ones. It’s also a time for giving.

While we enjoy the season, WhidbeyHealth would like to recognize and celebrate the gift of compassion and care that so many provide to our community and shine a light on the tremendous work being done day in and day out by our teams of care professionals. Whether inclement weather or the holidays themselves, WhidbeyHealth’s Emergency Room, Walk-In Clinics, Primary and Specialty Care Clinics, Inpatient Services (and ICU), Family Birthplace, and countless supporting departments at the Medical Center remain available to our community. These extraordinary individuals are hard at work making sure our community stays safe and healthy, while we enjoy the festivities of the season.

This winter has been particularly taxing to our healthcare system. from influenza to respiratory illnesses, COVID, and the day-to-day illnesses and accidents. Emergency Rooms and hospital beds are full across the state. As WhidbeyHealth looks toward the future and how to best serve our community in 2023, your team of local healthcare professionals have been working non-stop. Providing care when we need it the most.

On behalf of our Whidbey Island community, WhidbeyHealth would like to thank the tireless efforts of all our staff. Their dedication to local healthcare, when and where our patients need it most is remarkable and should be celebrated. Thank you for all you do for us each and every day – our providers, nurses, aides, technicians, therapists, laboratory and radiology professionals, pharmacists, house keepers, kitchen staff, and so many others! You’re providing all of us on Whidbey a healthier tomorrow.

Stay connected with us for current information at https://www.facebook.com/WhidbeyHealth

WhidbeyHealth Announces Primary Care Clinic Re-Opening in Freeland


Whidbey Island Public Hospital District (WhidbeyHealth), announces the re-opening of the Primary Care Freeland office on December 1, 2022. The office will open initially with one primary care provider with two additional providers to join the practice in January 2023.

WhidbeyHealth is excited to announce the grand re-opening of Primary Care Freeland for our South Whidbey residents and visitors. Nurse Practitioner Alison Katus will care for patients from the Freeland primary care clinic. Joining NP Katus in January will be Dr. Teresa Murphy and Nurse Practitioner Kristina Katarina Johnstone at: 5486 S. Harbor Ave, Freeland, WA 98249.

“We are very excited to be able to return Primary Care services to our community in Freeland,” remarked Dr. Garth Miller, COO. “The re-opening will allow greater flexibility for our patients and provide an additional primary care clinic for those on the south-end of our island.”

At WhidbeyHealth we believe everyone on Whidbey Island deserves local access to high-quality healthcare. WhidbeyHealth provides progressive, patient centric healthcare, a safety net when emergencies happen, and peace of mind, knowing our team is standing by 24/7 to respond to the needs of Whidbey Island residents and visitors. WhidbeyHealth is comprised of the Medical Center in Coupeville, and nine (9) outpatient clinics across Whidbey Island.

Stay connected with us for current information at https://www.facebook.com/WhidbeyHealth


The WhidbeyHealth Foundation is excited to host the Tour de Whidbey in 2023!

August 19, 2023

Known as one of the most beautiful bike rides in the Pacific Northwest, the Tour de Whidbey draws hundreds of riders from across the country. Ride routes range from our flat 10-mile Family Route to our Perimeter of Whidbey Endurance Route (POWER), a 162-mile route with over 10,000 feet of total elevation.

Tour de Whidbey is a fantastic event that brings locals and visitors together who share a passion to ride for a cause!

Take in the breathtaking views from the “back roads” or ocean vistas from the waters’ edge. Leisurely ride or push yourself to the limit. This one-day event is not a race – riders start and finish at their own pace. It’s a ride for the fun, for the challenge, for your health, and for the impact!

Pick the route that fits your skills and fuels your passion to ride. Every route has fully stocked hospitality break stations every 10-18 miles:

  • POWER (Perimeter of Whidbey Endurance Route) – 162 mile routes around the perimeter of our beautiful island
  • Century – 100 mile route through North and South Whidbey
  • Metric Century Plus – 68 mile routes through South Whidbey
  • Half Century – 50 mile routes through North and Central Whidbey
  • Metric Half Century – 33 mile routes through North Whidbey
  • Family – 10 mile route winds through the areas in and around Coupeville with a break station at the 5-mile mark

2023 Tour de Whidbey proceeds support the purchase of vital equipment for the WhidbeyHealth Medical Center and Clinics.

The mission of the WhidbeyHealth Foundation is to make sure WhidbeyHealth has the resources needed to provide patient-centered quality care for Whidbey residents and visitors alike. Together, we’re keeping Whidbey Island safe and healthy.

For additional information and to register, please visit: www.tourdewhidbey.org

The WhidbeyHealth Wire 3

The ‘Boarder’ Crisis

July 18, 2022

Hospitals throughout Washington state are facing unprecedented capacity challenges and those challenges have made their way to Whidbey Island.

Hospitals are operating above their capacity, impacting their ability to provide timely care to all people who urgently need it. As larger urban hospitals reach capacity, smaller rural hospitals are caring for more complex patients that normally would be transferred. The downstream effect is reduced access to OUR Emergency Department and acute inpatient care.

The biggest factor impacting capacity is patients awaiting discharge to nursing homes, behavioral health facilities or other similar settings. Statewide, between 10 and 20% of hospital beds are occupied by patients who are awaiting discharge to one of these settings. In July, WhidbeyHealth has averaged 8 patients per day, without options for safe discharge to an appropriate care setting. Many for days, weeks, and in some cases, a month.

WhidbeyHealth’s Emergency Department has 13 patient rooms. Earlier this week, our ED had 10 patients “boarding” while awaiting discharge to another facility. With the ED operating with only 3 rooms – only 3 patients could be seen at a time, including anyone brought in by ambulance. When patients are held in our ED, it causes delays for patients seeking emergency treatment. WhidbeyHealth is not alone in this struggle.

“There are no easy answers for this challenge. Answers will come through improved guardianship rules, state funding for more psychiatric beds, and additional utilization of our Walk-In clinics.” Mike Layfield, WhidbeyHealth CEO continues, “Washington has the lowest number of hospital beds per capita in the US. This position is untenable for staff and the patients we care for. It’s increasingly challenging for our patients, many of which only have WhidbeyHealth as an option for care.”

How can we fix this on our island and across the state?

Patients are stuck in hospital beds due to inadequate state funding and slow state approval of long-term care placement – all while hospitals and health systems in Washington are struggling financially.

  • The last federal COVID dollars were provided before the Delta and Omicron COVID surge.
  • Costs for supplies and staff have skyrocketed while reimbursement remains stagnant.
  • Most hospitals in Washington have not had a Medicaid rate increase in 20 years.
  • There continues to be a staffing shortage across the health care industry and in hospitals.
  • Hospital staff have also been hit hard by the most recent wave of COVID, with staff who test positive unable to work for 5-10 days.

Rural hospitals like ours are the first line of care for heart attacks, strokes, trauma, and other emergency and acute care needs. People are now waiting longer for care, putting them at higher risk.

WhidbeyHealth is working with our partners in Olympia to enact change:

  • End discriminatory practices towards Medicaid patients by requiring unnecessary guardianships.
  • Fund bed readiness programs at acute care hospitals.
  • Maintain and expand programs to stabilize long-term care facilities and behavioral health.
  • Expand child and adult respite capacity to prevent inappropriate hospitalization of children and adults with developmental disabilities.

WhidbeyHealth is fighting every day for our community’s health. We appreciate the grace and understanding that you have all shown as we navigate the current health care climate.

Board of Commissioners Applications Open

July 11, 2022

Any persons interested in appointment to the Whidbey Island Public Hospital District’s Board of Commissioners must submit a written letter of interest as well as a professional resume.

The Board of Commissioners has five (5) seats, representing the population of Whidbey Island. Board members are considered “at large” so they are accessible to the full community and do not represent any specific geographic location. Board of Commissioner candidates can reside anywhere on Whidbey Island (within the hospital district).

For the Commissioner Application information, please visit our Board of Commissioner’s page: https://whidbeyhealth.org/about-us/board-of-commissioners.

APPLICANT DEADLINE: Thursday, September 1, 2022 @ 5:00pm PST

The WhidbeyHealth Wire 2

June 21, 2022

Change is always interesting. There are many different kinds of change and many different perspectives on what result that change will leave. Ideally, change brings with it something improved, repaired or redirected. Through a different lens it can bring turmoil. For the past several years, WhidbeyHealth has been in financial and medical staff turmoil. Important for our future, those struggles are now in the rear view. Through the challenges though, one this has remained constant – the quality of care.

The last few years have been fraught with fear, uncertainty and isolation. What we don’t speak enough about are the hundreds of compassionate, empathetic and dedicated individuals who have been committed to providing our island community with nothing but the best health care possible.

Our quality has never wavered.

Did you know WhidbeyHealth is an accredited Critical Access hospital? Did you know that our HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores are higher than Washington state average… higher than the national average? Did you know we have nationally accredited Cancer Care and Oncology services? Did you know we have nationally accredited Laboratory Care? Did you know we have not had a reportable surgical site infection in over a year, or any device associated infections in nearly three years? Did you know WhidbeyHealth provides training and operational best practices to other regional hospitals on effective antimicrobial practices? We are neighbors helping neighbors and following through on the tenets this hospital was founded upon.

The community asked; WhidbeyHealth delivered. The quality care we provide was confirmed with our inaugural NIAHO (National Integrated Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations) accreditation survey. We selected DNV to be our accrediting body, knowing they audit the whole continuum of care. Aside from validating Medicare requirements, we’re leveraging best practices from CMS, Brain Attack Coalition, American Heart Association, International Organization of Standardization, and the World Health Organization to bring Whidbey Island the best care possible.

The HCAHPS are the nationally standardized, publicly reported survey of a patient’s perspective of the care they received. Did you know that our patients rate the quality of care they received from WhidbeyHealth higher than the state’s average? Higher than the national average? With an overall patient score of 4 of 5 stars, we’re bringing exceptional care to our island.

WhidbeyHealth was rated in the top 10 healthcare institutions in Washington for nursing care and communication in 2021 (HCAHPS). That places us above most of our neighbors along the I-5 corridor, and alongside the likes of UW Medical Center and Virginia Mason Medical Center.

A small, rural hospital, on an island in the Puget Sound, doesn’t sound like a recipe for great healthcare. Despite that, our care is world class. We are here for you, our community, standing by to provide the highest quality care.

-Conor O’Brien, Marketing & Community Relations Manager


DNV: https://www.dnv.com/services/hospital-accreditation-7516

HCAHPS: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/HospitalQualityInits/HospitalHCAHPS