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Writer has an ax to grind | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the editor:
In a recent letter to the editor in the Record, Tom Leahy asserted that I am not being honest with Whidbey Islanders when I provide education about the upcoming bond.
I find that interesting, since Tom Leahy has never been to one of my presentations. He has no firsthand knowledge about what is and is not said, yet he feels justified in attacking me personally. If he were to attend a public meeting, he would know, as hundreds who have attended know, that I (and Tom Tomasino, who also provides bond education) speak very distinctly and clearly about the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy and what it supports. There is no attempt to hide anything whatsoever, and that he would accuse me of such dishonesty speaks more to his character than it does to mine.
Our community is one of the few communities in the state of Washington that continues to provide EMS under the auspices of a hospital department. Other communities use a variety of other services to provide their EMS response, but rest assured they are paying for them in some manner such as a levy or with municipal tax dollars similar to what our Whidbey Island community does. EMS levy dollars support the EMS system to include the ambulances and staffed ambulance stations that you see in Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Bayview. It also provides some support to the local fire districts and fire departments, and helps support the operations of the island-wide I-COM (911) system.
The proposed bond for the new inpatient wing is 34 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. This 34 cents, plus the ongoing 9 cents per $1,000 that supports the maintenance and operations (M&O) levy, will result in taxpayers providing a total of only 43 cents per $1,000 to support our local hospital system.
An average home on Whidbey, valued at $252,000, currently pays $53 a year to support the hospital. If the bond is approved, that property owner’s contribution would become $108 annually to support the hospital.
Your elected hospital commissioners, WGH medical leadership and hospital leadership all agree that a new wing with single-patient rooms is imperative. Studies clearly indicate why the single-patient room is the current standard of care (improved infection control, decreased medication errors, faster recovery times, enhanced patient and family comfort, improved privacy and confidentiality, safer patient handling, increased ability to leverage technology and increased staff efficiencies).
You will receive your ballots in the mail toward the end of April, and you will have to decide if keeping quality healthcare in your local community is important to you or not. Between now and then, I will be happy to meet with you one-on-one, or in large groups. I will answer your questions openly and honestly, so that your decision can be based on the facts. Please don’t make erroneous assumptions or decide this issue on the uninformed comments of an angry man with an ax to grind. This is a serious and important issue, and it deserves everyone’s serious attention.
Whidbey General Hospital