Letter: Hospital is asset that must be supported, financed

Editor,

WhidbeyHealth is an extremely valuable resource for island residents that must be preserved and especially nurtured. It is a rural, critical access health system, similar to other critical access systems that are closing around the country.

I reemphasize closing even when those communities never believed it would happen. Medicare and in Washington state, Medicaid, recognize the extreme difficulties such systems have in remaining viable in the face of volume, economic, regulatory and demographic issues.

Compounding these are hurdles in recruitment, motivation and retention of great people at the bedside.

Operating costs accelerate, facilities must be replaced and debt incurred. While in general the hospital services are paid at cost regardless of volume for Medicaid and Medicare, insurers like Kaiser, formerly Group Health, must pay their fair share to cover shortfalls.

While the hospital is addressing physician models, generally payments are less than cost, especially for high quality specialists.

A barrier exists that without adequate volume of patients, specialists might see their skills erode at the same time their partner and family may need support. This results in the need for tax revenue that goes beyond funding needed debt and facility costs.

In planning for the future, I urge that discussion occur with the community about reasonable additional tax support every few years for nurturing operations as well as critical access shortfalls, understanding management is accountable for justifying all dollars spent and appropriate management of insurance contracts and critical access reimbursement.

Quality, safety and service come first. I for one would pay more to help.

Frank Hemeon

Langley

More in Letters to the Editor

Letter: Thank you from the South Whidbey Hearts Hammers

Editor, South Whidbey Hearts & Hammers would like to extend its heartfelt… Continue reading

Letter: People should model good behavior for the children

Editor, In reading the article in the South Whidbey Record and also… Continue reading

Letter: Easter is a time for more than just bunnies, eggs

Editor, Each spring, at parks such as Dan Porter Park or on… Continue reading

Letter: Our Southern resident orcas are in peril

Editor, Living on Whidbey Island is magical, with sweeping views out onto… Continue reading

Letter: Island’s litter crews do a great job, keep us clean

Editor, I wanted to send a shout out to the litter crews… Continue reading

Letter: Why is President Trump afraid to give tax returns?

Editor, So even though President Trump promised to release his tax returns… Continue reading

Letter: Opioid crisis restrictions don’t consider everyone

Editor, Regarding the April 6, 2019 South Whidbey Record article on the… Continue reading

Letter: WhidbeyHealth CEO salary needs to match Whidbey

Editor, As the WhidbeyHealth commissioners consider whether to give the retiring CEO… Continue reading

Letter: WICA play is worth the watch, good for laughs

Editor, Go see the new play at WICA, “Next to Normal.” While… Continue reading

Letter: Please don’t be late with property taxes this year

Editor, Taxpayers of Island County, please take note. Property taxes are due… Continue reading

Letter: Is this the new normal for Whidbey Island residents?

Editor, Is the Navy planning on “taking” Whidbey Island from us? The… Continue reading

Letter: Girls Night Out Bunco a success again this year

Editor, Guild 21 of Providence General Children’s Association, PGCA, would like to… Continue reading