Working to Strengthen WhidbeyHealth’s financial position

3.26.2021 @ 5:00pm

Mr. Telles’ comments appeared in today’s online edition of the Whidbey News Times:

 

Sound Off: Working to strengthen WhidbeyHealth’s financial position

The declaration of a global pandemic was made just over a year ago. Since then, WhidbeyHealth providers and staff have found ways to sustain core medical services like primary care and cancer care while fighting for the lives of everyone on the island.

In the face of that threat, continuous innovation like telemedicine has enabled us to deliver on our mission with only a few interruptions.

The financial impact on our health system cannot be overstated. As of January, unexpected costs to respond to COVID-19 exceeded $3 million. At the same time, lockdown measures and temporary service closures reduced revenue by $12 million.

Our community is not alone. America’s hospitals of every size face the same unprecedented, massive cost increases and revenue losses. Tragically, some hospitals have ceased to operate in small communities like Yakima, as well as in many large cities.

We are striving to strengthen WhidbeyHealth’s financial position so that we are more resilient in these and future extraordinary times. Unfortunately, we have faced the difficult decision to reduce our workforce in some areas, which I can assure you was not taken lightly.

Cost containment is paramount, but we cannot “cost-cut” our way to fiscal health. Our finance team is working aggressively to secure every dollar of FEMA benefits available, though that will be a fraction of COVID-related losses.

Negotiations are ongoing with insurance companies to improve reimbursement rates, reduce their denials for patient benefits and accelerate payment for services.

Sadly, insurance for some of our active duty and retired military heroes represents the lowest rates of reimbursement. We are advocating for change through our elected federal officials.

Service innovations like our walk-in clinics improve patient access to care, while reducing insurance denials for Emergency Department visits deemed to be “unnecessary.” This is a win-win for everyone.

Thanks in part to your support of WhidbeyHealth Foundation, we are investing in specialty services like joint replacement surgeries which are sorely needed by our patients and are covered by most insurers.

The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of our hospital.

With the support of the community and the incredible effort of our team, our children and grandchildren will celebrate a centennial in 2070. We are here for the long run — focused on our mission of delivering exceptional health care by our exceptional providers.

From all of us at WhidbeyHealth: thank you for your continuing support.

• Ron Telles is Chief Executive Officer for WhidbeyHealth.

COVID-19 Update: Vaccine Appointment Booking Resumes

3.22.2021 @ 10:30am

 

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

WhidbeyHealth is pleased to announce that effective today, Monday, March 22, 2021, at 10:30am we are re-opening our COVID-19 vaccine scheduler for booking vaccination appointments for the week of March 22nd. Per guidance received by WA Department of Health (click here) WhidbeyHealth is currently vaccinating those in the Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, and Phase 1B, tiers 1 and 2.

To verify your eligibility and book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at our Vaccine Clinic, please visit the WA Department of Health’s Phase Finder (FindYourPhaseWA.org) to register. For additional information and support using Phase Finder (click here).

 

Confirming your appointment: When using our appointment scheduler, please note that you will need to CONFIRM your appointment before your appointment is fully booked. To verify that your appointment has been successfully scheduled, first create an account while scheduling your appointment. You will receive a registration email and a confirmation email once registered. Within the account registration is a way for you to view your scheduled appointments. All confirmed appointments will be visible in your account, once created and logged in to.

Below you will find an image of what the confirmation page looks like if you have a confirmation error:

Below you will find an image of how to access your confirmed appointments:

Below you will find an image of what the confirmation page looks like if your appointment time is confirmed fully: 

Please note: When appointments are opened, only appointments for the number of vaccine doses that we have received will be available to book. This process will continue throughout our COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Please do not be disappointed if you are unable to make an appointment for this set of vaccine doses – we are expecting the available appointments to be booked quickly. Additional vaccine allocations will be delivered and we will continue to announce new appointment availability in this manner until the vaccine supply chain has normalized.

Thank you for your continued support as Island County’s ‘open’ vaccine provider. We are eager to vaccinate our community!

 

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

COVID-19 Update: Vaccine Appointment Booking Resumes

3.12.2021 @ 1:00pm

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

WhidbeyHealth is pleased to announce that effective today, Friday, March 12, 2021, at 1:00pm we are re-opening our COVID-19 vaccine scheduler for booking vaccination appointments for the week of March 15th. Per guidance received by WA Department of Health (click here) WhidbeyHealth is currently vaccinating those in the Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, and Phase 1B, tier 1. Starting Wednesday, March 17th, those in Phase 1B, tier 2 will be eligible to begin booking vaccine appointments.

To verify your eligibility and book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at our Vaccine Clinic, please visit the WA Department of Health’s Phase Finder (FindYourPhaseWA.org) to register. For additional information and support using Phase Finder (click here).

 

Confirming your appointment: When using our appointment scheduler, please note that you will need to CONFIRM your appointment before your appointment is fully booked. To verify that your appointment has been successfully scheduled, first create an account while scheduling your appointment. You will receive a registration email and a confirmation email once registered. Within the account registration is a way for you to view your scheduled appointments. All confirmed appointments will be visible in your account, once created and logged in to.

Below you will find an image of what the confirmation page looks like if you have a confirmation error:

Below you will find an image of how to access your confirmed appointments:

Below you will find an image of what the confirmation page looks like if your appointment time is confirmed fully: 

Please note: When appointments are opened, only appointments for the number of vaccine doses that we have received will be available to book. This process will continue throughout our COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Please do not be disappointed if you are unable to make an appointment for this set of vaccine doses – we are expecting the available appointments to be booked quickly. Additional vaccine allocations will be delivered and we will continue to announce new appointment availability in this manner until the vaccine supply chain has normalized.

Thank you for your continued support as Island County’s ‘open’ vaccine provider. We are eager to vaccinate our community!

 

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

COVID-19 Update: No Vaccine Allocations Coming week of 3.8.2021

3.8.2021 @ 8:45am

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

WhidbeyHealth is disappointed to announce that we will not be receiving additional allocations of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of 3.8.2021. We are hopeful that allocation requests will be delivered as requested next week.

What does this mean for you?

  • All currently scheduled appointments are STILL SCHEDULED. This does not affect you if you have an existing appointment scheduled.
    • If your appointment needs to be postponed due to lack of allocated vaccine doses you will be contacted via the contact information you provided when registering for your appointment at our Vaccine Clinic.
  • WhidbeyHealth’s Vaccine Clinic will not be adding appointment times to our vaccine clinic schedule this week.
    • We are only adding appointment times based on the number of vaccine doses currently on hand.
    • Only scheduling appointments for the amount of vaccine doses on hand allows us to guarantee those who sign up will receive their vaccine without cancellation or postponement of their appointment.

For daily status updates regarding our Vaccine Clinic and appointment availability, click here.

Per guidance received by WA Department of Health (click here) WhidbeyHealth is currently vaccinating those in the Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, and Phase 1B, tier 1. To verify your eligibility and to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at our Vaccine Clinic, please visit the WA Department of Health’s Phase Finder (FindYourPhaseWA.org) to register.

Thank you for your continued support as Island County’s ‘open’ vaccine provider. We are eager to vaccinate our community!

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

Community Update 3.5.2021: WhidbeyHealth Meets Financial Challenges Head-On

3.5.2021 @ 7:30pm

COUPEVILLE, WA:

WhidbeyHealth is committed to continually informing our community about the financial standing of our island healthcare system and this press release provides an update about changes currently underway.

To briefly recap our current financial situation: WhidbeyHealth’s approved 2020 budget called for approximately $100 million in net revenue from our many health care services, with a surplus of 2.8% or $3 million, which was to be invested in needed capital improvements, and cost of living adjustments for our employees, which would have led to additional services to our community. Of course, this was before the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic. We have reported the impact of COVID-19 regularly at monthly Board meetings. As of January 2021, WhidbeyHealth’s response to COVID-19 has exceeded $3 million in unplanned expenses. In addition, WhidbeyHealth experienced a $12 million loss of net revenue due to closure of services during the initial months of the pandemic. FEMA support will offset some, but not all of these costs. It is easy to understand how our original financial plan has been devastated by the pandemic.

Increasing and sustaining our net revenue is always a priority. 88% of WhidbeyHealth’s income comes from healthcare insurance. We are continuously negotiating with insurance companies for higher reimbursement rates and struggle to get timely payments from them. Managing insurance reimbursement revenues is a major issue for every American healthcare system and we are not immune on Whidbey Island. We analyzed our financial situation compared to national trends in the healthcare industry, and we have identified several opportunities to strengthen our long-term financial position which will ensure continued quality care for our community. In addition to our continued negotiations with insurance companies, WhidbeyHealth has identified cost reduction as another priority to reach a sustainable financial position. We are reviewing all lease agreements and service contracts. In the very near future, some clinical care services in rented space will be relocated to other buildings that we own, allowing us to eliminate some rent expense.

Payroll represents the majority of our costs. One of the actions that we must take to continue to provide healthcare to our community is a reduction in our workforce. This was not an easy decision, as we know it will deeply impact members of our WhidbeyHealth family. Every WhidbeyHealth employee is truly valued and contributes to our organizational success. Senior leaders and managers have taken voluntary pay reductions and we have instituted a hiring freeze for all non-critical positions. We will prioritize those who volunteer for layoff and those who decide to take retirement. These actions are necessary steps for WhidbeyHealth to remain financially viable and available to continue to provide excellent patient care to our Island community close to home.

The entire leadership team at WhidbeyHealth is committed to making these changes to our organization to ensure that our clinical services will continue without a reduction in access to care, when and where you need it.

WhidbeyHealth continues to be our island’s leader in vaccinating family and neighbors. To date we are nearing 9,000 vaccine doses administered. Our Vaccine Clinic is operating 6 days a week, with more than 20 dedicated staff and volunteers involved every day, who ensure you have a safe and smooth experience.

Our commissioners, leadership and staff are committed to overcoming these challenges by being flexible and continuously evaluating opportunities to improve efficiencies and expand services to our community. We resolutely believe that we will emerge from these challenging times stronger than ever and appreciate our Island’s support.

We encourage everyone to follow and engage with us online via our website and Facebook. Meetings of the Board of Commissioners are open to the public and are recorded and posted on our website so that anyone unable to attend the meeting can stay up to date.

COVID-19 continues to be a major threat to our health. We encourage everyone to wear facial coverings, maintain social distancing and to wash hands frequently.

 

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

WhidbeyHealth Vaccine Clinic @ Trinity Lutheran 3.7.2021

3.4.2021 @ 10:00am

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

WhidbeyHealth is pleased to partner again with Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland along with WhidbeyHealth EMS and South Whidbey Fire to administer second dose vaccinations this Sunday, 3.7.2021. Please find some the answers below to commonly asked questions of WhidbeyHealth’s Vaccine Clinic and Island County Public Health regarding this follow up vaccination event.

Who can be vaccinated at Trinity Lutheran Church Sunday, March 7th?

  • Only those who received their first vaccine dose at our Trinity Lutheran Pop-Up clinic on 2.7.2021
  • All persons scheduled for their second dose appointment on 3.7.2021 have received a confirmation email and will receive a second early this weekend.

What time is my appointment?

  • Your appointment time will be the same as it was for your first dose appointment.

Who can you contact if you have any questions?

 

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

COVID-19 Update: Vaccine Appointment Booking Resumes

3.1.2021 @ 2:45pm

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

WhidbeyHealth is please to announce that effective today, Monday, March 1, 2021, at 3:00pm we are re-opening our COVID-19 vaccine scheduler for booking vaccination appointments. Per guidance received by WA Department of Health (click here) WhidbeyHealth is currently vaccinating those in the Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, and Phase 1B, tier 1.

To verify your eligibility and book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at our Vaccine Clinic, please visit the WA Department of Health’s Phase Finder (FindYourPhaseWA.org) to register. For additional information and support using Phase Finder (click here).

 

Confirming your appointment: When using our appointment scheduler, please note that you will need to CONFIRM your appointment before your appointment is fully booked and confirmed. To verify that your appointment has been successfully scheduled, first create an account while scheduling your appointment. You will receive a registration email and a confirmation email once registered. Within the account registration is a way for you to view your scheduled appointments. All confirmed appointments will be visible in your account, once created and logged in to.

Below you will find an image of what the confirmation page looks like if you have a confirmation error:

Below you will find an image of how to access your confirmed appointments:

Below you will find an image of what the confirmation page looks like if your appointment time is confirmed fully: 

Please note: When appointments are opened, only appointments for the number of vaccine doses that we have received will be available to book. This process will continue throughout our COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Please do no be disappointed if your are unable to make an appointment for this set of vaccine doses – we are expecting the available appointments to be booked quickly. Additional vaccine allocations will be delivered and we will continue to announce new appointment availability in this manner until the vaccine supply chain has normalized.

Thank you for your continued support as Island County’s ‘open’ vaccine provider. We are eager to vaccinate our community!

 

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

Community Update 2.26.2021: Phone Issues Actively Being Addressed

2.26.2021 @ 4:45pm

UPDATE: The telecom issues that were reported to the community earlier today have been resolved and WhidbeyHealth is no longer experiencing any issues with incoming calls reaching our facilities. The phone lines for our Medical Center, Primary Care, Specialty Care and Walk-In Clinics are up and running as intended.

 

 

2.26.2021 @ 4:00pm

WhidbeyHealth has been notified by our community that our primary phone lines to call into the Medical Center as well as our Primary Care, Specialty Care, and Walk-In Clinics are not functioning as intended. While we work diligently to address and fix this issue, please call the phone number listed below. An operator at the Medical Center will answer and can direct your call to any of our locations within our Healthcare System.

If you are unable to reach us at any of our locations using the primary phone numbers posted on our website and in community resources, please call: 360.321.5151. 

COVID-19 Update: No Vaccine Allocations Coming week of 2.22.2021

2.22.2021 @ 9:45am

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

WhidbeyHealth is disappointed to announce that we will not be receiving additional allocations of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of 2.22.2021. We are hopeful that allocation requests will be delivered as requested next week.

What does this mean for you?

  • All currently scheduled appointments are STILL SCHEDULED. This does not affect you if you have an existing appointment scheduled.
    • If your appointment needs to be postponed due to lack of allocated vaccine doses you will be contacted via the contact information you provided when registering for your appointment at our Vaccine Clinic.
  • WhidbeyHealth’s Vaccine Clinic will not be adding appointment times to our vaccine clinic schedule this week.
    • We are only adding appointment times based on the number of vaccine doses currently on hand.
    • Only scheduling appointments for the amount of vaccine doses on hand allows us to guarantee those who sign up will receive their vaccine without cancellation or postponement of their appointment.

For daily status updates regarding our Vaccine Clinic and appointment availability, click here.

Per guidance received by WA Department of Health (click here) WhidbeyHealth is currently vaccinating those in the Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, and Phase 1B, tier 1. To verify your eligibility and to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at our Vaccine Clinic, please visit the WA Department of Health’s Phase Finder (FindYourPhaseWA.org) to register.

Thank you for your continued support as Island County’s ‘open’ vaccine provider. We are eager to vaccinate our community!

Stay connected with us for current information at facebook.com/whidbeyhealth

Community Update 2.17.2021

2.17.2021 @ 10:00am

In a decision made with an abundance of caution for the continued safety of our patients and staff, WhidbeyHealth is not making any modifications to our current Visitor and Support Persons Policy.

WhidbeyHealth has made the decision to maintain its current policy until COVID-19 case counts drop below 50 per 100,000 in Island County for two consecutive weeks.

Governor, Jay Inslee announced Thursday, February 11th, that five regions will move to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery. Island County is part of a region that has moved into Phase 2 (North Region). However, with COVID-19 vaccine allocations to Island County low, and our region’s trend of limited flattening of case rates and an increased trend of new COVID-19 hospital admissions by more than 60% over the past two weeks, WhidbeyHealth has made the decision to maintain its current visitor policy until rates flatten or reduce.

We appreciate the extraordinary support of our Whidbey Island Community with this decision. The decision was not made lightly. We believe this is the best course of action to continue to provide a safe and sustainable care environment for our patients and staff through the pandemic. The safety of our patients and staff are paramount to everything we do.

 

More information about the Health Washington Roadmap to Recovery:

 

Stay connected with us for current information at facebook.com/WhidbeyHealth or here on our website at WhidbeyHealth.org.

COVID-19 Update: No Vaccine Allocations Coming week of 2.15.2021

2.16.2021 @ 1:30pm

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

WhidbeyHealth is disappointed to announce that we will not be receiving additional allocations of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of 2.15.2021. We are hopeful that allocation requests will be delivered next week.

What does this mean for you?

  • All currently scheduled appointments are STILL SCHEDULED. This does not affect you if you have an existing appointment scheduled.
  • WhidbeyHealth’s Vaccine Clinic will not be adding appointment times to our vaccine clinic schedule this week.
    • We are only adding appointment times based on the number of vaccine doses currently on hand.
    • Only scheduling appointments for the amount of vaccine doses on hand allows us to guarantee those who sign up will receive their vaccine without cancellation or postponement of their appointment.

For daily status updates regarding our Vaccine Clinic and appointment availability, click here.

Per guidance received by WA Department of Health (click here) WhidbeyHealth is currently vaccinating those in the Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, and Phase 1B, tier 1. To verify your eligibility and to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at our Vaccine Clinic, please visit the WA Department of Health’s Phase Finder (FindYourPhaseWA.org) to register.

Thank you for your continued support as Island County’s ‘open’ vaccine provider. We are eager to vaccinate our community!

Stay connected with us for current information at facebook.com/whidbeyhealth

COVID-19 UPDATE: Important Weather Cancellation Notice

2.13.2021 @ 10:00am

Ice and snow conditions have made travel unsafe for patients and staff. We regret that the COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be closed today, Saturday 2.13.2021.

Any appointments for today will be postponed until Tuesday, between 2PM and 7PM. Affected patients will be contacted by email before the end of the day tomorrow (Sunday) with updated appointment times.

Please follow our Facebook and our website at https://whidbeyhealth.org/covid-19 for updates as they are available.

Thank you for your continuing support and patience.

COVID-19 Update: No Vaccine Allocations Coming week of 2.8.2021

2.8.2021 @ 12:00pm

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

WhidbeyHealth is disappointed to announce that we will not be receiving additional allocations of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of 2.8.2021. We are hopeful that allocation requests will be delivered next week.

What does this mean for you?

  • All currently scheduled appointments are STILL SCHEDULED. This does not affect you if you have an existing appointment scheduled.
  • WhidbeyHealth’s Vaccine Clinic will not be adding appointment times to our vaccine clinic schedule this week.
    • We are only adding appointment times based on the number of vaccine doses currently on hand.
    • Only scheduling appointments for the amount of vaccine doses on hand allows us to guarantee those who sign will receive their vaccine without cancellation or postponement of their appointment.

Per guidance received by WA Department of Health (click here) WhidbeyHealth is currently vaccinating those in the Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, and Phase 1B, tier 1. To verify your eligibility and to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at our Vaccine Clinic, please visit the WA Department of Health’s Phase Finder (FindYourPhaseWA.org) to register.

Thank you for your continued support as Island County’s ‘open’ vaccine provider. We are eager to vaccinate our community!

Stay connected with us for current information at facebook.com/whidbeyhealth

 

COVID-19 Update: Vaccine Appointment Booking Resumes

2.3.2021 @ 12:00pm

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19.

WhidbeyHealth is pleased to announce that effective today, Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 12:30pm we are re-opening our our COVID-19 vaccine scheduler for booking vaccination appointments. Per guidance received by WA Department of Health (click here) WhidbeyHealth is currently vaccinating those in the Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, and Phase 1B, tier 1.

To verify your eligibility and to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at our Vaccine Clinic, please visit the WA Department of Health’s Phase Finder (FindYourPhaseWA.org) to register. For additional information and support using Phase Finder (click here).

Please note: When appointments are opened, only appointments for the number of vaccine doses that we have received will be available to book. This process will continue throughout our COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Please do not be disappointed if you are unable to make an appointment for this set of vaccine doses – we are expecting the available appointments to be booked quickly. Additional vaccine allocations will be delivered and we will continue to announce new appointment availability in this manner until the vaccine supply chain has normalized.

Thank you for your continued support as Island County’s ‘open’ vaccine provider. We are eager to vaccinate our community!

 

 

Stay connected with us for current information at facebook.com/whidbeyhealth

 

COVID-19 Update: Vaccine Supply Delivery delays

1.27.2021 @ 11:00am

This is a continuation in a series of updates for the community regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. 

As an ‘open’ vaccination provider for Island County, WhidbeyHealth has been made aware that we are unlikely to receive regular, reliable allocations of vaccine from our State Department of Health. Because of this, WhidbeyHealth is in the unfortunate position of needing to reconfigure our established Vaccine Clinic schedule based on these inconsistent allocations. We strive to provide fair and equitable ways of accessing COVID-19 vaccine in Island County, while continuing to participate in the State’s Phased Allocation Plan.

 

Effective Friday, 1.29.2021:

  • ALL scheduled persons who have signed up with WhidbeyHealth to receive their first dose vaccine to date will have their appointments cancelled. This applies to the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
  • To avoid any further appointment cancellations, we will re-open our scheduling tool with space available ONLY for the amount of vaccine doses that we have on hand – both first and second doses. As we receive additional vaccine doses we will add additional space in our schedule.
    • If you are part of the current Phase/Tier groups allowed to be vaccinated under State guidance, please check in with our scheduling tool often as additional vaccination appointment spaces may have opened up.
    • To get access to our scheduling tool and check availability of vaccine at WhidbeyHealth, please visit FindYourPhaseWA.org. If you are able to register for an appointment, please bring with you:
      • Screenshot or Print Out of your eligibility confirmation from FindYourPhaseWA.org, along with a valid ID.

 

Effective Friday, 2.12.2021:

  • ALL scheduled persons who have signed up with WhidbeyHealth to receive their second dose of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will have their appointments cancelled.
    • When/if scheduling becomes available for Pfizer second doses at WhidbeyHealth, scheduling will resume. If additional doses of Pfizer are not allocated to WhidbeyHealth the patient may select an alternative vaccination site using the Pfizer vaccine to receive their second dose.

 

Moving forward our Vaccine Clinic will be re-opened for scheduling to anyone in an applicable Phase/Tier population may register or re-register to have your vaccine administered. We will have our schedule re-opened ONLY with enough appointments available based on the amount of vaccine that has been delivered. As more vaccine is received, we will add additional appointment slots.

Once our scheduling tool is re-opened, you will need to re-book your first dose appointment. When our schedule has been filled based on the number of vaccine doses we have on hand, it will remain full until we receive additional vaccine doses and can open additional spaces. This practice will continue throughout the Phase/Tier vaccination efforts until vaccine allocations have stabilized.

WhidbeyHealth is incredibly disappointed to be in this position. We remain committed in our support of the State’s effort to get as many vaccinated as quickly as is safely possible. We also welcome the State’s new efforts to bring in additional partners and to stand up its own mass vaccination efforts. We know vaccinating Washington’s population will take many organizations building on the successful efforts already underway. However, we believe the reallocation of vaccines away from hospitals and clinics with thousands of appointments already scheduled is short-sighted and harmful to the public’s trust in Washington State’s vaccine distribution system. Reallocation of vaccine also raises concerning questions about equity. We are hearing from our most vulnerable community members they may not be able to travel to a mass vaccination clinic or other barriers to receiving the vaccine. We are letting our Island County community know today about these upcoming appointment cancellations and new processes for obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine. We understand and sympathize with our community, and again ask for your patience as we have to make required adjustments to our processes to ensure safety and efficiency in those who come to our Vaccine Clinic. We are eager to vaccinate our community against COVID-19.

 

Stay connected with us for current information at facebook.com/whidbeyhealth or here on our website.