Vote to support Whidbey General expansion project | Editorial

Whidbey General Hospital is asking voters to approve a $50-million bond to fund expansion and renovation of the hospital.

While this proposal isn’t perfect and the measure could have been better promoted, Whidbey Island residents need and deserve a local hospital that provides up-to-date facilities and care.

This is virtually the same measure that failed in May 2011. While nearly 56 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the bond, it fell short of the 60 percent supermajority needed for approval.

More than half of voters saw the importance of supporting Whidbey General, and hopefully more have come to understand the need to improve the facility.

The bond would pay for a new hospital wing with 39 “smart rooms” featuring advanced technology which, hospital officials say, will provide safer and better quality care.

The rooms that would be built if the bond is approved would provide better infection control, increased privacy and more space for equipment and visitors, hospital supporters say.

Critics of the bond say single patient rooms are a luxury and unnecessary.

Not so, say hospital officials.

Single rooms are not a luxury, hospital representatives say. They are a necessity — the accepted standard in hospital care today.

Other key points hospital officials want voters to know is that the current infrastructure is outdated. The building was designed in the 1960s.

The bond, they say, is needed because the current facility isn’t energy efficient, doesn’t provide optimum ventilation, fails to meet current standards for noise control and does not allow installation of safe patient handling equipment, including lifts in the ceiling.

Increasing infection control standards and newer patient privacy laws and standards require an updated facility, bond proponents say.

Yes, the hospital could have done a better job promoting this bond. Regardless, the responsibility is ours to ensure we have the best medical facility possible in our back yard.

Vote to support the hospital expansion on Tuesday, Nov. 5.


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