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NAS Whidbey partners with Whidbey General for surgery

Cmdr. Michael Ancona, director of surgical services for Oak Harbor Naval Hospital, is one of a small team of surgeons who will be performing procedures in civilian hospitals. - Photo by Janis Reid / Whidbey News-Times
Cmdr. Michael Ancona, director of surgical services for Oak Harbor Naval Hospital, is one of a small team of surgeons who will be performing procedures in civilian hospitals.
— image credit: Photo by Janis Reid / Whidbey News-Times

Navy surgeons may now perform procedures at nearby civilian hospitals.

Oak Harbor Naval Hospital entered into a partnership with Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville and Island Hospital in Anacortes.

The Naval Hospital rolled out changes over the past year that included closure of the hospital’s Urgent Care Center, expanding its clinics, upgrading the birthing center and adding a 24-hour nurse hotline.

In addition, surgeries are no longer performed on base.

Capt. Edward Simmer, the hospital’s commanding officer until August, said partnerships will allow veterans and military personnel to consult and have surgeries performed by military doctors.

“We greatly appreciate the partnership we have with Whidbey General and Island Hospitals,” Simmer said in a prepared news release this week. “Together we are ensuring Navy Medicine beneficiaries receive the outstanding care they deserve every day.

“This collaboration is a big step toward reaching NHOH’s vision of ‘Build Your World Class Medical Neighborhood.’”

Primary function of this agreement is to allow for general, orthopedic and gynecologic surgeries for Naval Hospital patients in the civilian hospitals, but pre- and post-operative appointments will still occur on base.

Whidbey General, located in Coupeville, is one of 34 rural hospitals in Washington state. In November, Island County voters approved a $50 million bond to be used to upgrade and expand Whidbey General.

“We are honored by their (the Navy’s) trust in us and look forward to taking on their surgeries, inpatients and emergencies as needed,” said Whidbey General spokesperson Trish Rose in an emailed statement. “We look forward to working collaboratively with their leadership, as well as making every effort to accommodate the needs of our community’s service members and their families. It is the quality of our workforce and the quality of our care that enables them to make this decision with such confidence.”

April 9 marked the first partnered surgery at Whidbey General, followed by the initial surgery at Island Hospital April 11.

Naval Hospital surgeons are part of a team of staff and nurses at each of the partner facilities and are vetted and certified according to each civilian hospital’s requirements.

 

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