Blog

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

Community Update 5.21.2021: Kaiser Insurance Now Accepted at Walk-In Clinics

5.21.2021

WhidbeyHealth is please to announce to our community that Kaiser Insurances are now accepted at our Walk-In Clinics.

Effective immediately, our Walk-In Clinics in Oak Harbor (Goldie Street) and Clinton (SR-525) are accepting Kaiser healthcare insurance for patients seeking care.

WhidbeyHealth has been accepting Kaiser insurance at all of our Care Clinics and Medical Center, but we recently found and worked with the organization to remedy an issue that was causing Walk-In Clinic coverage to be denied – specifically for our Walk-In Clinic patients who are not Primary Care patients with WhidbeyHealth.

WhidbeyHealth’s Walk-In Clinics are here to serve you and our Whidbey Island Community. Open seven (7) days a week, with no appointment needed, Walk-In clinics are a great resource that our community did not have available to them. We believe everyone on Whidbey Island deserves local access to high quality healthcare from exceptional providers and highly skilled staff. To learn more about what our Walk-In Clinics can offer you as a patient and the difference between choosing a Walk-In Clinic or the Emergency Room can be found here: https://whidbeyhealth.org/clinics/walk-in-clinton-clinic

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

Community Update 5.18.2021: Masking Continues at WhidbeyHealth

5.18.2021

COUPEVILLE, WA:

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that if a person has been fully vaccinated (two weeks following your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks following your Johnson & Johnson vaccine dose) then you can resume pre-pandemic activities. This broad statement included activities like no longer wearing a mask or socially distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidelines. WhidbeyHealth would like to provide the following statement and clarification to the CDC’s announcement and provide guidance to our community regarding how Washington will move forward.

WhidbeyHealth Medical Center, our Primary Care, Specialty Care, Walk-In Clinics, and Emergency Medical Services will continue to require masking and maintaining appropriate distancing until we publicly announce otherwise. Regardless of a person’s vaccination status, we will require every individual entering our facility to submit to temperature monitoring prior to entrance, and to remain masked and socially distanced for the duration of their time seeking and receiving care. We are confident that these continued preventative measures will protect our patients and staff from exposure. As a result of our community’s commitment to masking, socially distancing and vaccinations, WhidbeyHealth has eased our visitor restriction to allow entry of one (1) support person per patient for clinical visits. Additionally, our Gift Shop and West Wind Café have been opened to permitted support persons. For additional information regarding WhidbeyHealth’s pandemic visitor and support person policy you can find additional information here: https://whidbeyhealth.org/covid-19. WhidbeyHealth will continue to conscientiously review positive COVID case counts, rates of vaccine administration, COVID-related hospitalizations (in our county and across the State), and ICU admissions. As we look to further ease visitor restrictions in the coming months, we will continue to need our community’s support – to wear masks, socially distance and get vaccinated.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced May 13, 2021, that the state is moving toward a statewide June 30th reopening date and that all counties in Washington will move to Phase 3 of the Healthy WA: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan. “The full reopening plan could happen earlier than June 30th if 70% or more Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination. Washington has currently administered vaccine to 56% of residents over the age of 18,” Inslee state. “Washington will full adopt the masking guidance issued by the CDC,” stressing that this guidance is for fully vaccinated people only. Until June 30th or such a time as the State of Washington announces that means for limiting exposure during the pandemic is no longer required, all mask wearing, and social distancing measures remain in effect.

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

Community Update 4.29.2021: WhidbeyHealth enters Operations Transfer Agreement with Eden Health

4.29.2021

COUPEVILLE, WA:

WhidbeyHealth is committed to continually informing our community about changes to the healthcare services provided at Whidbey island Public Hospital District and this joint press release provides and update about changes currently underway.

Over the past 36 years WhidbeyHealth Home Health Care has compassionately served thousands of patients across our island, a service we have been proud to provide to our community. In our continued efforts to improve our financial position and establish a sustainable model for the long-term financial health, WhidbeyHealth has made the decision to discontinue our Home Health Care services.

WhidbeyHealth has partnered with Eden Health, to ensure continuity of care for our Home Health Care patients. This partnership is valued greatly as Eden Health has offered to admit our current patients as well as hire our current employees to ensure continuity of care. WhidbeyHealth has great confidence in the partner we have selected. Eden Health has an exceptional reputation for quality care while promoting integrity, dedication, and empathy.

Eden Home Health has been providing Home Health care services in Island County, as well as other outlying counties in Washington for over 7 years. “We are committed to continuing to provide the highest level of quality care to the residents of Island County and look forward to the opportunity that this brings for our mutual patients and employee-owners,” said Brent Weil, President and CEO of EmpRes Healthcare, a 100% employee owned company offering Home Health, Hospice and Home Care in 8 states. “Our goal is to ‘keep healthcare local’ to ensure that each community is represented and strategies are implemented specifically to meet the needs of the residents in the communities that they are so honored to serve”, noted Mr. Weil.

The transition of care will take place on June 1, 2021.

Contact: Conor O’Brien at obrienc@whidbeyhealth.org or Jamie Brown at jbrown3@eden-health.com

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

WhidbeyHealth Vaccine Pop-Up Clinic @ Trinity Lutheran 5.8.2021

4.28.2021 @ 10:30am

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, South Whidbey Fire & Rescue, and Island County Public Health to administer first dose vaccinations on Saturday, May 8th. This Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic will serve those in the community who need to receive their first dose only.

The WhidbeyHealth Vaccine Clinic and supporting teams will return to Trinity Lutheran for a follow up, Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic on Saturday, June 5th to administer the second doses for those who received their initial dose at the May 5th Trinity Lutheran Pop-Up.

Please visit our Vaccine Scheduler (here: https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/cn2vqgd8/) to register for an available vaccine appointment for our Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic. Reminder: you will only need to schedule your first dose. The Vaccine Clinic team will schedule your second dose appointment for you on June 5th at our follow-up Pop-Up Clinic at Trinity Lutheran.

WhidbeyHealth’s Vaccine Clinic is strongly encouraging minors be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when receiving their vaccine.

Who can be vaccinated at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 8th?

  • Only those who have scheduled an appointment through our appointment scheduler: https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/cn2vqgd8/
  • We will ONLY be offering the Moderna Vaccine at this Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic, and will only be able to administer to individuals 18 years or older.
  • Effective April 15th, all Washington residents aged 16 or older will be eligible to register and receive the vaccine. WhidbeyHealth’s Vaccine Clinic is strongly encouraging minors be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when receiving their vaccine. Residents 16 or 17 years old can register for their Pfizer Vaccine appointment at our Vaccine Clinic at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center, when appointments are available.

Who can you contact if you have any questions?

  • Please email our Vaccine Clinic directly: myhospital@whidbeyhealth.org

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

COVID-19 Update: Vaccine Appointment Booking Resumes

4.23.2021 @ 11:30am

 

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

WhidbeyHealth is pleased to announce that at 11:30am 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 all Washington residents 16 years or older. WhidbeyHealth’s Vaccine Clinic is strongly encouraging minors be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when receiving their vaccine.

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.

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

WhidbeyHealth Women’s Care moving to new location in Coupeville

4.15.2021

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

Beginning on Monday, April 19th, Women’s Care will be located at 77 N. 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 identified Specialty Care clinics to buildings owned by WhidbeyHealth, rather than continuing to rent space to practice these lines of care 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 Women’s Care clinic, Monday, April 19th 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 excellent care, where you need it, close to home, 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

Island County 911 – The First of the First Responders

We never see them during an emergency, but they are the very first people we call when we need help: the team at Island County 911, or “I-COM 911.”

Every second counts in a serious emergency. The highly trained telecommunicators at I-COM 911 calmly help us during what may be the worst moments of our lives.

There is no question that this team of unseen, unsung heroes contribute to saving lives, protecting our property, and fighting crime. They are a lifeline for the public, and ensure the safety of paramedics, firefighters and police officers by monitoring activities by radio and supplying necessary updates for a rapid response.

April 11-17 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week – an annual nationwide recognition of the very first people to respond when we need help the most. Many thanks to the I-COM 911 team – all of Island County residents are safer and healthier because of your outstanding work!