Clinic committee reveals plan for Langley Clinic

The Langley Clinic will be owned by the Whidbey General Hospital Primary Care Associates, hospital officials said at the first joint committee meeting to keep the clinic in town.

Whidbey General Hospital Primary Care Associates is a subsidiary of the hospital governed by a five-member physician board.

“The Langley clinic providers will be hired by PCA (Whidbey General Hospital Primary Care Associates), which gives them the benefit of being associated with other physicians and mid-level practitioners, as well as having the hospital’s financial backing,” said Scott Rhine, hospital CEO.

Langley Clinic will be the second private-physician practice that has been purchased by the association since it was formed by the hospital in February, when it purchased the Whidbey Community Physicians practice in Oak Harbor.

It is Whidbey General Hospital’s intent to also have the physicians at South Whidbey Healthcare in Freeland be employed by PCA starting in November, hospital officials said.

“By creating a strong network of physician practices on Whidbey Island, PCA allows practitioners to focus on their medical practice, with the advantage of sharing administrative services such as electronic records and billing,” Rhine said.

The hospital is actively looking for a family physician to work at the Langley clinic, and for other practitioners to work at the Freeland clinic.

The joint committee has already been involved in the recruitment process, with several members having the opportunity to meet and interview a potential candidate.

In the meantime, Dr. Stan Whittemore and nurse practitioner Ann Lower are still available for appointments through the end of October. The hospital has a verbal agreement from Lower that she will continue to work at the Langley practice three days a week.

“Ann Lower will continue to see patients at the clinic starting Wednesday, Nov. 12. The clinic will be closed only during the week of Nov. 3, while we make the ownership transition,” Rhine said.

After the joint committee meeting, Langley Mayor Paul Samuelson was optimistic.

“We have a great group of people sitting on the joint committee,” he said. “Our job is to help find the right family physician for Langley and to provide some financial assistance to the hospital in purchasing the clinic equipment.

“PCA seems like the right owner to make sure the Langley clinic is staffed in the short-term and as a long-term viable practice,” he added.

“Whidbey General Hospital is taking on a thoughtful guardianship role to address island-wide physician practice issues common to rural areas,” said Mully Mullally, also a member of the committee.

Members of the joint committee representing Whidbey General Hospital are Rhine, Dr. Roger Case, Trish Rose and Jill Spurgeon. Members representing Langley are Samuelson, Mullally, Kathleen Landel, Ursula Roosen-Runge, Lynn Willeford and Patty Willson.

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