Letter: Hospital was impacted but will get through this difficult time

Editor,

A recently published letter to Gov. Jay Inslee has caused concern. The letter was written by the Washington State Hospital Association on behalf of several hospitals in our state, including WhidbeyHealth.

The letter urges the governor to immediately release COVID-19-related emergency funds to our hospital and others.

One part of that letter characterizes WhidbeyHealth among the hospitals “… facing imminent closure.”

This language is regrettable, and we want to offer some context and clarification.

This pandemic’s massive economic impacts affect every hospital in the United States. At WhidbeyHealth, we estimate that COVID-19 related costs will top $1,600,000 per month.

Simultaneously, suspending services like elective surgery has reduced our insurance reimbursement by almost two million dollars per month.

Our situation is dire, and we urgently need action from Governor Inslee’s office. At the same time, we face other serious challenges.

Nationwide shortages of coronavirus testing materials, personal protective equipment (PPE) for caregivers and other resources affect our operations every day.

Our partnerships with other hospitals, NAS Whidbey, local and state governments are constantly identifying ways we can share equipment, supplies and even personnel.

This is a difficult time — perhaps the most difficult we will know in our lives. Despite the issues we face, remarkable support from our community continues to roll in. Nearly 300 people have volunteered to hand-make masks and other PPE.

Retired providers are renewing their medical licenses to supplement our staff capacity. A petition urging the governor to respond with immediate financial support has attracted over 1,000 signatures in fewer than 24 hours.

Local and regional news media have partnered with us to keep you informed about how we can help. Together, we will get through this.

On behalf of our entire staff at WhidbeyHealth, we want to assure our community that we are here and committed to providing exceptional care for everyone who needs us. This year is our 50th Anniversary, and we look forward to another fifty years of service to patients and families.

It is the very reason we are here.

Ron Wallin

President, Board of Commissioner

Ron Telles

CEO, WhidbeyHealth

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