WhidbeyHealth budget set at $272 million

Additional patients forecast at hospital, clinics

WhidbeyHealth expects to see more patients at its new hospital wing next year and at its new Oak Harbor women’s clinic, potentially boosting the bottom line.

Additional patients at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center and at its Goldie Road facility are forecast in the $272 million operating budget for 2018, Ron Telles, chief financial officer, told the Whidbey Island Hospital District Board of Commissioners at its December meeting.

Telles projected a 50 percent patient increase — or 2,500 more visits — at Women’s Care Oak Harbor that’s now part of a hub that also includes primary care, sleep care and physical therapy. It offers obstetrics, gynecology and nurse practitioner services.

Additionally, 8 percent more overnight patients are expected at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center, which opened its 39-room addition months ago.

Even though the new wing has only single occupancy rooms, as opposed to the old unit’s shared rooms, it’s easier to place patients, Telles said.

“It’s a better use of space in the new wing,” he said. “Before we had to match female to female patients in one room and male to male. Now that’s not a consideration.”

The budget passed unanimously.

Wages will increase 2 to 2.5 percent for union workers, which include nurses, technological, imaging and housekeeping support staff.

The public health system expects a net revenue of $111.8 million, up about $3.1 million from 2017. It anticipates $111.4 million in expenses.

Telles said he may be underestimating the revenue increase.

“That could be a conservative number,” he said. “From what we’re already seeing, I think more people will be coming into the Oak Harbor clinic.”

More providers and services are part of the reason.

By March, Telles said five providers will be rotating through Oak Harbor Women’s Clinic. It’s equipped with diagnostic technology purchased with funds from the WhidbeyHealth Foundation.

Additionally, by spring, the system will be fully staffed at its hospital and all seven clinics.

Payroll, including benefits, for WhidbeyHealth’s 655 full-time employees amounts to $66.8 million — about 55 percent of the budget.

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