Naval Hospital Oak Harbor Expands Medical Home Port and Birthing Center, Partners with Local Civilian Hospitals

By CAPT Edward Simmer, Commanding Officer, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor

OAK HARBOR, WA (Nov. 15, 2013) – Since it opened in 1968, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (NHOH) has been a key part of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) and the entire Whidbey Island community. Today we serve more than 20,000 active duty service members, retirees, and their families.

Medical practice, and the people we serve has changed significantly since we opened 45 years ago, and NHOH has adapted over the years to ensure we continue to provide the very best care to those who rely on us. The Medical Home Port (MHP) model of care is a recent example of a successful adaptation implemented to meet our beneficiaries health care needs. MHP established a team approach to care, comprised of providers, nurses, and support staff, ensuring the highest quality of care and patient satisfaction.

Building on this success, we will be implementing the following changes to NHOH:

Transitioning the Urgent Care Center into an Expanded Medical Home Port Primary Care Center,

Creating an expanded, state-of-the-art Birthing Center and

Moving surgery (still performed by Navy Surgeons) and non-maternity inpatient care to civilian partner hospitals.

Our MHP teams help those who rely on us stay healthier and have access to their care team whenever they need it, which has resulted in a significant decrease in the need for non-maternity inpatient care. Our Urgent Care Center also has had a significant decrease in utilization, since most people are now healthier and can get an appointment with their regular provider when they need it (generally on a same-day basis).

NHOH is committed to improving mission readiness, providing value and quality health care by maximizing the redistribution of resources. This transformation will be implemented through a phased approach. Through an exhaustive analysis, it was determined these changes will maximize services while reducing unnecessary costs.

For example, converting urgent care, where patients are seen by a doctor they likely do not know and have never seen before, to an expanded Medical Home Port with evening and weekend hours will ensure patients can be seen by the team they know and trust. Similarly for inpatient care and surgery, having our doctors provide these services at civilian partner hospitals will expand the care we can provide while allowing us to convert underutilized inpatient space into a much needed state-of-the-art birthing center.

We have already started working on the changes, and our goal is to have them completed as soon as possible, with a completion date scheduled for April 2014. I am excited about the future as I am convinced that these changes will ensure Naval Hospital Oak Harbor continues to meet our mission of “Caring for People” while ensuring the readiness of our forces and their families for years to come!

We invite you to visit our website (, give us a call (360-257-9974) or stop by if you have questions or would like more information.