Letters to the Editor

Dismissed for patient care ideas

The CEO of Whidbey General Hospital, Mr. Tom Tomasino, spoke at the Whidbey General Hospital board meeting on April 11 seeking to justify the recent departure of two of the hospital’s physicians. I am one of those two physicians. The reasons given for my departure by Mr. Tomasino included misstatements regarding me and my value to the hospital.

Mr. Tomasino indicated that my termination was requested to maintain efforts to improve patient satisfaction, patient safety, and to improve the confidentiality of the peer review and quality systems. The given reasons are inaccurate. These are all quality of patient care issues that I championed. I was summarily dismissed because the administration and at least one member of the board felt threatened when presented with ideas for improving quality of care. These ideas, though time tested, thoroughly proven to be more effective, and currently in use in every other hospital in the region, encroached on their established, comfortable, long held positions.

Over recent years there has been a long line of good physicians that have been forced to leave Whidbey General Hospital. The transgression of these dozen or so physicians was that they sought to improve and modernize the quality of care instead of standing pat with the status quo. These physicians, including me, ran afoul of the political agenda and personal goals of the hospital board and administration.

Voters are being asked to vote in favor of a $50 million bond to expand and modernize the hospital. In general, modernization is a good idea. Modernization, however, is more than just seeking money for new facilities. It includes updating and improving the quality and provision of health care. It includes keeping an open mind to improved procedures, practices and new ideas.

Before voting, ask yourself why so many good and qualified physicians have left Whidbey General Hospital in the past several years. It has not been because of the facilities. Voting for, or even against, the bond does not address the key issue in moving Whidbey General Hospital forward. Whidbey General Hospital deserves an administration that will seek to embrace progress and improvements in medicine, rather than feeling threatened by them. It deserves an administration that will put the quality of care and the good of the community over individual interests and cronyism.

The people of Whidbey Island should insist that the hospital administration deal openly and honestly with issues rather than provide misstatements and inaccuracies about medical staff in order to protect the status quo that the administration enjoys.

Mark Borden, MD

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