Until I started getting information about the upcoming bond issue, I really didn’t have any idea how many of our medical resources here on the island were dependent on our having a healthy hospital.
I was on the advisory board for the South Whidbey Community Clinic for many years, so I did know that the invaluable south and north island community clinics are a part of Whidbey General Hospital. But I hadn’t thought it through. WGH also provides our ambulance and EMT service, birthing center, cardiac rehab, physical therapy, home health and hospice, and out-patient cancer therapy. It supports a number of medical practices and a significant number of doctors on the island.
If WGH cannot keep up with quality care for its medical/surgical patients, all this goes away. I understand there are those who say, “Who cares? Another hospital can take them over.” But we wouldn’t necessarily get the same kind of locally- controlled care. As founder of Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund and the person who answered the phone for its first ten years, I knew that I could find a sympathetic ear at WGH — someone willing to work with us — when a bill was about to go to collections. Does that happen in larger hospital systems?
I realize that voting for the bond will raise our property taxes a little. But I also know that Island County citizens pay less for their local hospitals than any other county in the state. That tells me that the folks at WGH really know how to stretch the dollars we do give them and still provide quality care.
Medical care today really requires single-person rooms for a variety of reasons — among them infection control, privacy, quiet for healing, and space to allow families to spend more time with their loved ones.
I strongly support the bond issue in November and hope you will too.