Letter: Hospital levy is an important step forward

Editor,

The governance and management of WhidbeyHealth are taking an important step in asking for a levy increase for operations. This is the right action to take to protect our access to quality healthcare on the Island. Whidbey is a designated “critical access hospital” by the federal and state governments.

Simply Google “critical access hospitals” to understand the fragile status of these hospitals, made worse by difficult events not limited to COVID. It is estimated that one third of Washington State critical access hospitals are at risk of closure and over 75 have closed across the country since 2010. I know this to be true after helping over five such hospitals in the last five years.

The federal and state governments understood the unique challenges facing these hospitals and established some safety net protection, but not enough by themselves. Having worked at Whidbey, I know not a dollar is wasted and the commitment of their staff to patients is unparalleled.

As a community, we have a social compact with each other to support Whidbey Health, so I urge you to vote yes on this levy request. The dollar impact per household is minimal for the majority of our residents.

Frank Hemeon

Langley

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