Letter: Unaccredited hospital is not patient’s first choice

Editor,

I am responding to a recent article about WhidbeyHealth’s loss of income from scheduled surgeries.

I wonder if this is as a result of WhidbeyHealth’s Commissioners and CEO’s decision not to seek accreditation. If you had the choice to go to an off-island accredited hospital for a non-urgent procedure, would you choose your local unaccredited hospital just for convenience?

This does not mean doctors at WhidbeyHealth are not competent; it’s that we have no yardstick by which to decide. It seems more likely that excellence would be drawn to excellence, with the best doctors attracted to hospitals with the best reputation based on a recognized system of assessment: accreditation. Re-branding Whidbey Hospital to WhidbeyHealth was an expensive facelift, not an upgrade in capability.

While I have personally found, and appreciate, that the emergency staff are competent, thorough and caring, this is only one aspect of the hospital.

While the technical staff in lab work are competent, professional and pleasant, this is only one aspect. While there may be state-of-the-art equipment for diagnostics, this is still only one aspect. Against this is the fact that I have had five doctors since Community Health doctors merged with WhidbeyHealth; not my choice, but because they don’t stay. Long-term doctors move on, new doctors don’t stay. Why not?

When the Medicare website to compare hospitals gives Whidbey just two stars, I wonder why.

Hilary Turner

Coupeville

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