Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Operating loss was planned, expected

Editor,

One of the main arguments against the hospital bond has been that the hospital is “losing money” and is operating at a loss this year.

This is true. But it is more important, not to mention more illuminating, to look at the details of this loss.

Several years ago the federal government started a program to mandate all healthcare providers to computerize. The ultimate goal is to have greater interconnectivity between facilities, doctors and other medical providers and to improve medical care across the country. Hospitals doing this early on actually will receive an additional bonus in their federal payments and those delaying will have a decrease in their payments.

Whidbey General Hospital is in the midst of implementing a completely new computer system to meet these federal guidelines. This implementation has been time-consuming and expensive. These costs were budgeted for and a loss was projected.

If one looks closely at the finances of the hospital, one will see that the hospital would indeed be operating “in the black” and would make money, were it not for this one-time major expense. This statement was confirmed recently by the independent auditor’s report to the Board of Commissioners. Once this expense is over, anticipated for later this year, there is every reason to expect that Whidbey General will be back on its solid financial footing.

If you use your savings to buy a car, your budget might be in the “red” for that year. However, if that car is useful in helping you get to work, the long-term benefit outweighs the short-term loss. Whidbey General just “bought a car” and in the long-term, the medical care of this island will only improve.

Don’t let shortsighted and ill-informed arguments keep you from voting yes on the Whidbey General bond.

LEE W. ROOF

medical doctor

Coupeville

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