Opinion

Sound off: Doctors want to keep Whidbey's hospital ‘treasure’

By Douglas G. Langrock, M.D

In just a few days, the citizens of Whidbey Island will have the opportunity to ensure first-class health care in our community for generations to come by voting “yes” on the hospital expansion bond.

The doctors and allied providers who form the medical staff of Whidbey General are wholeheartedly in support of this critical project. We proudly stand behind the efforts of our hospital administrator, Tom Tomasino, who has tirelessly crisscrossed the Island to educate the public about this sorely needed facility upgrade.

We believe the proposal is well conceived, and we are delighted that the construction schedule will not prevent us from continuing to care for you and your family at our hospital. Most important, we feel that this is a fiscally prudent and cost effective project, which will still keep the district well below our neighboring hospitals in Skagit and Snohomish counties in terms of tax levy rates for medical services.

This sound hospital investment strategy in difficult economic times has caught the attention of Capella Healthcare, a private for-profit corporation headquartered 2,000 miles away. They give a professional and polished presentation, and often succeed in acquiring rural non-profit hospitals with this pitch (they’ve added nine such facilities in the last three years).

But we must remember that all important rule in life, “If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.” They may assure us we will still have local control of our hospital, but we just won’t have the same access we enjoy now with our Board of Commissioners, who have listened and responded to Islanders for over 40 years.

They may vow that their first obligation is to our patients on Whidbey, and not to their shareholders in Tennessee, but can we really place our trust in this promise from businessmen who don’t really know us?

We know that our elected commissioners are pillars in our community, who have proven, both in their chosen vocations and as the leaders of our hospital district, that they care deeply about the health and welfare of every Whidbey Islander. We all have the right to vote for our commissioners and continue to have a say in the way we receive our healthcare, and we will fervently oppose those who might profit by taking this freedom away from us.

The physicians of your hospital are proud to support our very special treasure, our not-for-profit Whidbey General Hospital and community clinics, and its vision to remain a state-of-the-art facility, while providing down-home compassionate care. We respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday, May 17.

The Doctors and Allied Providers of Whidbey General Hospital
Douglas G. Langrock, M.D., Medical Chief of Staff

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