WhidbeyHealth hospital needs to step up its game

Editor,

If you have had to visit the emergency room or schedule a procedure at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center you have, no doubt, encountered several hours of wait time for the ER and days if not weeks to schedule a procedure. The reason offered for ER waits often is the closure of the Navy ER, but surely that has been addressed by now. It has been over a year, hasn’t it?

The waits have gotten worse despite the $70,000 bonus awarded to the already overpaid for the area CEO. It is really unacceptable that the understaffing resulting in these wait times continues while such bonuses are awarded, and I use the word “awarded” because I don’t feel it was earned and the taxpayers were not consulted as per long standing secrecy by the board.

While the new addition is much needed, it will not help the person in pain waiting to see a doctor in the ER for more than four hours, or the person languishing in the ER after being admitted presumably because the floor is understaffed with nurses. Apparently no one can make the connection that if patients are occupying beds in the ER waiting for admission, people are sitting in the waiting room waiting to be seen, efficient it is not.

Whidbey General Hospital, as it was known then, spent obscene amounts of money in the past on “Patients First.” You have to have staff before you can put patients first.

As a retired former longtime employee of WhidbeyHealth, people often share their experiences there with me followed by “that is why I go to Island Hospital or Everett” respectively for the North or South End.

Don’t get me started on the difference in the “feel” of WhidbeyHealth and Island Hospital. The staff there seems much happier in their jobs, wait times are considerably shorter. On a personal note, I have been waiting for three weeks for WHMC to call me to schedule a procedure, and still have not heard from them. I had the order sent to Island Hospital and got an appointment the day they received the order, which took a week to get there. I have lived in Oak Harbor for 30 years, have been to the hospital a few times especially since my 70s. I have been to Skagit once for an MRI years ago. I did not have to readmit when I went there for my cataract surgery; I have to readmit every time I go to Whidbey.

Perhaps next time I will just cut out the middle man. It seems pretty simple to me if they want to be held in high regard by the community they need to step up their game, and the game isn’t stepped up in administration.

PAT WALLACE

Oak Harbor