Blog

WhidbeyHealth Welcomes James Golder to Board

1.4.2022

WhidbeyHealth Board of Commissioners and staff welcomes Mr. James Dean Golder as the Commissioner for District 2. Mr. Golder was elected to the seat during the 2021 general election. Elections of Hospital District Commissioners are non-partisan. The seat was previously occupied by Commissioner Kurt Blankenship who was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2017.

Mr. Golder is a former Idaho State Representative and brings his substantial experience as a business owner before moving to Whidbey Island.

“We welcome Mr. Golder to the Board and would like to thank Mr. Blankenship for his dedication to our community,” said Board President Ron Wallin.

WhidbeyHealth is an accredited Critical Access Hospital with ten primary care and specialty clinics serving the community of Whidbey Island, Washington. Learn more about WhidbeyHealth system and Board online: whidbeyhealth.org.

Stay connected with us for current information at https://whidbeyhealth.org or on social media at https://www.facebook.com/WhidbeyHealth.

New Women’s Care Practice Model in 2022

12.31.2021

Patients of our Women’s Care clinic will see elevated delivery of care in Obstetric and Gynecologic health care in our community in 2022. To achieve this, WhidbeyHealth Women’s Care will change to a model that focuses on mid-level providers caring for patients in the clinic setting and Obstetric and Gynecological MDs focusing on births and gynecologic surgery.

Realigning our Women’s Care practice allows WhidbeyHealth to serve our community in an OB-GYN specialized environment. It also allows WhidbeyHealth to partner with existing island midwifery practices for births that desire or require the use of hospital services. From routine health and wellness exams to the challenges of menopause and everything in between, we’re working to ensure our community has the individual, personalized care right for every patient.

It is with an abundance of appreciation that we announce Alicia Darr, ARNP, CNM of WhidbeyHealth Women’s Care will be joining Anacortes Midwifery, a private women’s health practice in Coupeville. Anacortes Midwifery has partnered with WhidbeyHealth for the use of our Family Birthplace. “Alicia Darr has made a tremendous impact on our community since she joined the WhidbeyHealth Medical Staff in 2016. Through tireless commitment and dedication, Alicia always found her passion practicing obstetrics and focusing on individualized care,” said Garth Miller, MD, Chief Operating Officer. “It has been a privilege working with her and we look forward to our continued collaboration; providing women’s health care to our island.” We will be working with Darr to transition her patients. Darr’s final day with WhidbeyHealth will be March 6, 2022.

Safety and excellent patient care is our priority at WhidbeyHealth. We appreciate the continued partnership with local providers, and the support of our patients and community. WhidbeyHealth remains dedicated to providing exceptional care, without exception.

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

Updated Employee & Patient/Visitor Masking Guidelines

12.23.2021

Since the beginning of the pandemic, WhidbeyHealth’s primary duty has been to assure the safety of patients and staff. As more is learned about coronavirus, our policies have changed to fulfill that duty, which is especially important today due to the Omicron variant.

To enhance respiratory protection, standardizing masks for everyone entering any WhidbeyHealth facility is essential, especially given the very high rate at which the Omicron variant is transmitted from person to person.

Effective December 27th, anyone who enters any WhidbeyHealth facility will be required to wear either a medical procedural mask or an N-95 mask. Cloth masks (often decorative) do not offer adequate protection and may not be used in our facilities.

Updating our masking policy has been developed with the support of a working group of infectious disease experts at the university of Washington and a hospital collaboration group with other Critical Access Hospitals (like WhidbeyHealth) in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. It is important to note that the new variant has been detected in Island County and current case estimates identify 20% of all COVID positive cases as Omicron.

WhidbeyHealth is not making any changes to the current visitor policy which can be found here: https://whidbeyhealth.org/patients-visitors/policies/visitor-policies.

We continue to ask for the community’s amazing support to help end the pandemic – wear masks regardless of vaccination status, socially distance, and maintain great hand hygiene. WhidbeyHealth continues to strongly encourage all in our community to be vaccinated.

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

WhidbeyHealth Orthopedic Care moving to new location in Coupeville

12.21.2021

WhidbeyHealth is excited to announce that our Orthopedic Care clinic is relocating to another medical office building in Coupeville.

Beginning on Monday, January 10th, Orthopedic Care will be located at 205 S. Main Street in Coupeville.

In our continued effort to positively reinforce our operating expenses, one way we are able to make meaningful and impactful change is to relocate and strategically consolidate identified Specialty Care clinics to increase accessibility for our community. “We are striving to strengthen WhidbeyHealth’s financial position so that we are more resilient in these and future extraordinary times,” stated Ron Telles, CEO.

We look forward to opening our doors at our WhidbeyHealth Surgical and Orthopedic Care Center, Monday, January 10th at it’s new location. We have made great effort to ensure a smooth transition without interruption of care for our patients. As part of WhidbeyHealth’s mission to provide exceptional care, without exception, we are excited about this office transition as it allows for an increased level of integration with other WhidbeyHealth services at the Medical Center.

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

Community Update 11.5.2021: COVID-19 Testing at WhidbeyHealth

11.5.2021

COUPEVILLE, WA:

Due to the widespread availability of COVID-19 testing available on the island and the sharp decrease in demand at WhidbeyHealth for coronavirus testing appointments, WhidbeyHealth will cease operating its schedule or drive-up polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on November 12, 2021.

Those in the community in need of elective PCR testing, pre-procedurally or for travel, should seek testing at a local pharmacy or with their prescribing provider. WhidbeyHealth will continue to administer PCR testing as a medical necessity for symptomatic patients at our Emergency Department and Walk-In Clinics. To ensure the continued safety of our patients and staff, if you are a patient experiencing upper-respiratory or COVID-19 symptoms, WhidbeyHealth asks that you call ahead and properly disclose any symptoms as a reason for your visit.

We have made significant strides in the fight against the pandemic, but it is not behind us yet. With widespread vaccination available for authorized persons 5 years and older, WhidbeyHealth continues to strongly encourage everyone to be vaccinated. Additionally, continue to protect yourself and your community by masking when required, maintain distance, and practice great hand hygiene.

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Community Update 11.5.2021: Vaccines at WhidbeyHealth Community Pharmacy

11.5.2021

COUPEVILLE, WA:

WhidbeyHealth is pleased to announce that starting November 8, 2021, we are resuming our public vaccination efforts by offering both the COVID-19 vaccine and annual Influenza vaccine at our Community Pharmacy. We are able to administer the Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

At this time the WhidbeyHealth Community Pharmacy will be focused on administering COVID-19 vaccine to those seeking a Third dose or Booster dose to our community and will also be able to administer to anyone 12 years and older. Third doses refer to an additional dose of mRNA vaccine recommended for immunocompromised individuals. A Booster dose is an additional dose of mRNA vaccine for those who are elderly, or at an increased risk to exposure at your place of work.

Who should receive an additional dose?

  • People 18 an older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their primary series should get a booster at least two months after their last dose.
  • People who received the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine for their primary series and are in the following groups should get a booster shot at least 6 months after completing the primary series:
    • Persons 65 years and older.
    • Persons 18 years and older living in long-term care settings.
    • Persons 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions or who are at increased risk of social inequities.
    • Persons 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions or have an increased risk for social inequities.
    • Persons 18 to 64 who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to occupational or institutional setting.

How can I schedule an appointment?

  • Appointments will be available Monday – Thursday, from 2:00pm – 5:00pm
    • Vaccination is by appointment only. We will not be accepting walk-ins for appointments.
  • Vaccines will be administered at the WhidbeyHealth Community Pharmacy, located at 7 NW Birch Street, Coupeville.
    • Vaccinations will not be offered at the Medical Center
  • Click on the link here to schedule your appointment: https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/cn2vqgd8/
    • Confirm 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 (if you received your initial vaccine series with us, you may use your same account credentials as before). All confirmed appointments will be visible in your account, once created and logged in to.
  • Arrive to your appointment at or before your scheduled time with the following items that are needed for your vaccine administration:
    • Valid State I.D.
    • Medical Insurance Card
      • Your insurance will be billed for the administration of the vaccine
    • Your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (if you are receiving a COVID vaccine)
    • COVID-19 Vaccine Consent Form (if you are receiving a COVID vaccine):

Community Guidance: Have COVID-19 symptoms? Call our Walk-In Clinics or Emergency Department

9.27.2021

In our continued efforts to ensure the safest possible environment for our patients and employees, WhidbeyHealth must ask our community to call before arriving for care if you are experiencing any upper-respiratory or COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally we must ask that all of our patients be forthcoming and disclose when they are experiencing symptoms of this nature.

While no patients or employees have been negatively impacted, WhidbeyHealth has noticed a trend of patients not disclosing their symptoms upon arrival to our Primary Care Clinics, only to let their provider know once they are in the office being seen. For clarity, we are seeing patients with upper-respiratory and potential COVID-19 symptoms at our Walk-In Clinics in Clinton and Oak Harbor, as well as in our Emergency Department. To ensure the continued safety of our patients and staff, please call ahead and properly disclose any symptoms you may have as a reason for your visit.

Walk-In Clinic Clinton: 360.341.5252

Walk-In Clinic Oak Harbor: 360.679.5590

Emergency Department: 360.678.5151

WhidbeyHealth Achieves Quality-Based Accreditation Status

8.23.2021

WhidbeyHealth is now a DNV-GL Accredited Critical Access Hospital. By earning accreditation, WhidbeyHealth has demonstrated it meets or exceeds patient safety standards (Conditions of Participation) set forth by the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“This is a major milestone for healthcare on Whidbey Island,” stated Ron Telles, WhidbeyHealth CEO. “The entire accreditation process is consistent with our long-term commitment to continuous improvements in quality of services and patient safety.” Telles continued, “The ability to integrate ISO 9001 quality standards with our clinical and financial processes is a major step forward.”

DNV-GL’s accreditation program, called NIAHO (Integrated Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), involves annual hospital surveys – instead of every three years – and encourages hospitals to openly share information across departments and to discover improvements in clinical workflows and safety protocols.

DNV-GL is a global independent certification, assurance, and risk management provider, operating in more than 100 countries. Through its broad experience and deep expertise, DNV-GL advances safety and sustainable performance, sets industry benchmarks, and drives innovative solutions.

For more information about DNV, visit: www.dnvcert.com/healthcare

Stay connected with WhidbeyHealth for current information here or at www.facebook.com/whidbeyhealth

Community update:

August 19, 2021:

We have received several inquiries regarding third (booster) shots of coronavirus vaccines. There are many open questions on this topic, some related to persons with conditions which compromised immune systems. WhidbeyHealth does not currently plan to re-open our vaccination clinic.

Vaccination is strongly recommended for everyone who is eligible. It is safe, effective, and the most important step to protecting yourself and those around you. Getting vaccinated is urgent to combat the rapid spread of the delta variant which can cause serious illness and death.

Vaccines are widely available from commercial pharmacies throughout Whidbey Island. Click here to find a vaccine appointment near you: https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/

On August 18th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued notice of a plan to begin offering vaccine booster shots this fall. Specific recommendations on the use of boosters are expected soon and we will do our best to keep our community well-informed.

There is also guidance for persons with compromised immunity:

Look here for CDC guidance for immunocompromised individuals: https://www.cdc.gov/…/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html

In addition, the Washington State Department of Health has published this advice for immunocompromised individuals: https://www.doh.wa.gov/…/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.

As always, guidance is provided based on the information we have at time of publication, and is subject to updating at any time.

#ivax2protect

WhidbeyHealth: Committed to providing exceptional healthcare to every patient

6.30.2021

It is our mission to provide exceptional healthcare to every patient. To fulfill that mission, we strive for equitable treatment of every patient, visitor and employee, and work to foster a welcoming culture.

Ours is a local hospital, staffed largely by local people who are here to serve people who live here. We depend on a close relationship with the community nurtured by the thoughtful communications. We try not to communicate like a big impersonal medical center. Some days we could do better and for those times, we are sorry and promise to try harder.

Our focus at WhidbeyHealth will always be to deliver exceptional health care by our exceptional care providers to our island community. If you would like to learn more about our non-discrimination policy, patient’s rights policy, or how WhidbeyHealth supports our Island Community, you can view them on our website: https://whidbeyhealth.org/patients-visitors/policies.

COOLING STATION OPEN AT MEDICAL CENTER

WhidbeyHealth is opening a cooling station to the public today from 1:00 until early evening. Located in the air conditioned HEC Education Center where the vaccine clinic operates.

  • Please park in the lots at the rear of the medical center.
  • Enter from the rear of the medical center, through the courtyard by the cafeteria; the same entrance you used if you were vaccinated here.
  • We will provide cold water and snacks for visitors escaping the heat.
  • As with all of our facilities, face masks are required. If you need one, we will provide it for you.
    Extreme heat can be dangerous to everyone’s health, especially adults over 65, infants and children, and persons with chronic health conditions. The CDC offers these tips for hot weather:
    • Stay cool indoors if possible
    • Limit outdoor exercise
    • Don’t leave children or pets in parked cars, even if the windows are open.
    • Stay hydrated: drink plenty of fluids – don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Keep your pets hydrated too!
    • Stay informed: keep an eye on the local weather report

Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

Community Update 6.18.2021: Philips Recalls CPAP/BiPAP Devices

6.18.2021

WhidbeyHealth’s Sleep Care was notified that Philips has issued a recall on many of their CPAP and BiPAP devices, many of which our patients use. We would like to inform our Sleep Care patients and community of the recall so action can be taken as needed.

If you currently use a Philips CPAP or BiPAP device, please visit Philips’ website to register your machine and see if you qualify for the recall. You can visit the Philips website here: https://www.philipssrcupdate.expertinquiry.com/.

If you have any questions, Philips has a section of their website that may help. You can visit the help section of the Philips website here: https://www.usa.philips.com/healthcare/e/sleep/communications/src-update#section_2.

If your CPAP or BiPAP device is listed as a recalled device, Philips recommends the following action:

  • If you can stop using your device, please do so
  • If you cannot stop using your device, please continue to use it
  • If you have any questions or concerns and would like to speak to a member of the WhidbeyHealth Sleep Care team about your device you can do so by calling: 360-240-4080

For additional information, read Philip’s press release: https://www.philips.com/a-w/about/news/archive/standard/news/press/2021/20210614-philips-issues-recall-notification-to-mitigate-potential-health-risks-related-to-the-sound-abatement-foam-component-in-certain-sleep-and-respiratory-care-devices.html.

Community Update 6.16.2021: Obstetrics & Gynecologic Care

6.15.2021

WhidbeyHealth’s Obstetrics and Gynecologic care is experiencing a peak in anticipated births. In order to match the needs of patients with our staffing capacity to safety serve them, certain expectant moms will be referred to our partner hospitals for scheduled births. We anticipate this temporary referral to last for two weeks, effective today.

We are in the process of working with the small number of affected patients and coordinating their services at a nearby hospital of their choice.

The safety and delivery of care to our patients is paramount to everything we do at WhidbeyHealth. We appreciate the support of our patients and the Whidbey Island community as we work diligently to on-board additional providers to meet the needs of our growing Women’s Care practice.

The following services will remain available to all our Women’s Care patients:

  • Emergency or active labor
  • Lactation services
  • Provider-ordered testing
  • Patients seeing Providers for weekly high-risk prenatal appointments
  • All related laboratory and imaging services

Everyone at WhidbeyHealth is grateful for the continued and unfaltering dedication to providing exceptional Women’s Care by Dr. McSorley, Dr. Giem, Certified Nurse Midwives Darr and Granville, as well as the entire clinical and support staff. WhidbeyHealth remains dedicated to providing exceptional care, close to home.

Community Update 5.27.2021: WhidbeyHealth to conclude vaccine clinic operations June 30th

5.27.2021

COUPEVILLE, WA:

Due to the widespread availability of vaccine providers on the island and the sharp decrease in demand at WhidbeyHealth for coronavirus vaccination appointments, WhidbeyHealth will cease operating its public vaccine clinic on June 30, 2021.

We are proud that our team of WhidbeyHealth staff and volunteers came together as the first public vaccination provider on Whidbey Island.

As of today, we have delivered over 17,000 injections at no cost to the patient or their insurance carriers. We chose to do this as an important step in fighting for the lives of our community.

We could not have mounted this effort without the support of many volunteer providers who generously assisted in giving injections, staffing the reception desk, escorting patients through the process, operating the waiting area, and helping with the tremendous paperwork burden. From everyone at WhidbeyHealth, we can only say: Thank you!

WhidbeyHealth also recognizes the enormous organizing support from Island County Public Health, Island County Emergency Management, our Fire Service, and many other partners. Our collaboration throughout this pandemic has proven that we are truly #WhidbeyStrong.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all our staff, providers, volunteers, and community members who came together to make our community safer. We can, and will, make it through this together.

Although we have made significant strides in the fight against the pandemic is not behind us yet. We encourage everyone to mask up where required, maintain distance, hand hygiene, and most important: get vaccinated.

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

Community Update: 5.21.2021: Amerigroup Insurance no longer accepted at WhidbeyHealth Primary Care & Walk-In Clinics – July 1st

5.21.2021

COUPEVILLE, WA:

This is an announcement about changes in health insurance coverage for some of WhidbeyHealth’s patients. Regretfully, we have made the decision that effective July 1, 2021, we will no longer accept Amerigroup coverage for service at our Primary Care Clinic at Cabot Drive (Oak Harbor) and Freeland, as well as our Walk-In Clinics in Oak Harbor and Clinton. Coverage and acceptance of Amerigroup insurance will continue at our Medical Center, Emergency Department and Specialty Care Clinics, like Women’s Care and Surgical Care. Unfortunately, this means we cannot provide primary care or walk-in service to patients with Amerigroup Medicaid.

Despite extensive efforts to work with Amerigroup, patients continue to experience excessive delays in claim processing, high rates of incorrect denials of coverage, and long waits for reimbursement. We have notified patients with Amerigroup coverage of this change, and have provided guidance about how to easily change to another Medicaid program, such as Community Health Plan of WA, Coordinated Care of Washington, or United Healthcare Community Plan.

WhidbeyHealth is constantly striving to provide our community with improvements that provide greater access to care. It is our role to help patients get every dollar of insurance benefit they are entitled to. Patients with questions or would like assistance changing your Medicaid coverage to another provider, our staff is ready to help you with any assistance you need. You can reach our Patient Financial Services department by calling 360.682.2850. You can also contact the State Medicaid program directly at 800.562.3022.

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