More services coming by hospital

A number of changes are in the works for WhidbeyHealth.

In addition to opening walk-in clinics in Oak Harbor and Clinton, the hospital district is converting an old Wells Fargo drive-through bank in Coupeville into an outpatient pharmacy.

The hospital is also in the process of hiring eight new staff members.

During a meeting of the hospital’s board of commissioners Monday morning, hospital officials discussed their plans.

Last week, the hospital announced that a walk-in clinic would open in Clinton on April 7.

Now, though a date hasn’t been set yet, an Oak Harbor walk-in clinic is expected to be added at the hospital’s location on Goldie Road.

“We will emulate the Clinton model, which will enable us to open sooner rather than later,” Colleen Clark, WhidbeyHealth chief operations officer, said in an email.

The Oak Harbor walk-in clinic is expected to open in the fall, according to the hospital district. The clinic will offer medical help to people with such issues as severe flu symptoms, minor cuts and bruises, muscle pain and strains, fevers, ear aches and sinus infections.

According to Clark, the district is listening to its community of patients who want acute issues to be seen at a walk-in setting rather than having to go to the emergency room, which is more expensive and has longer waits.

The hospital district will also open a drive-through pharmacy later this year in Coupeville. The former Wells Fargo bank building, located on Birch Street, will be converted to a drug store.

The building is located near the intersection of State Highway 20 and North Main Street, next door to the hospital.

“We hope to capture a large percentage of the prescriptions that our hospital and Coupeville clinics authorize for our patients,” Clark said, adding that the pharmacy will offer competitive drug pricing for its patients and easy access for its Coupeville population.

The new staff members include nurses and doctors who will fill vacancies in the hospital or be additional members. They will fill positions for the primary care unit, walk-in clinics, orthopedics, sleep center and general surgery.

“Our goal is to listen to our community, assess the demand, provide excellent local care for our patients and hire accordingly,” Clark said.