Regarding the sale of Whidbey General Hospital district property at Bayview, originally intended to consolidate South End medical services offered by our public hospital, apparently Commissioner Cammermeyer did not hear on April 14 my concerns, which were read into the official record at the hearing.
In the South Whidbey Record’s May 14 story, it is reported that Cammermeyer said she’d not heard negative feedback about selling the lot.
My concerns included the following:
— A centralized location where residents can obtain services offered by the hospital is in the best interests of South End residents. It is a long drive or bus ride to Coupeville, the current services offered are not enough, the locations scattered and despite the efforts of dedicated staff, long waits for routine procedures such as blood draws exist.
— Make it too inconvenient or problematic and people will seek services elsewhere; many South Whidbey residents currently access their medical care across the ferry and if they see that the hospital district is not responsive to their needs, this trend will grow. In addition, keeping services local is in the long-range interest of sustainability (fuel and ferry costs and usage), a concern of all of us in the light of climate change and resource use.
I believe that it is at least premature to sell the Bayview property and that a citizen/district committee be formed to explore the heath care needs and desires of South End residents that could be addressed by a consolidated satellite facility. It should investigate current options of transit access to the site limitations and options of payment reimbursement at a satellite location (currently the Freeland and Clinton sites exist with some form of reimbursement, so this is not necessarily a reason to not expand services to South End residents). Finally, a group should examine the costs of building on the Bayview site versus alternate options.
I believe the sale is about more than how the property was originally purchased; it is instead about how the hospital serves residents on our geographically dispersed island.
SUE ELLEN WHITE