It was with optimism that I received the news of Mr. Golder’s election to the hospital board. He does not seem like someone that would quietly join the “self-congratulatory coffee and cookie club” that has been the hospital board for the last 20+ years.
Can the “cookie club” be expected to choose someone that will not quietly “eat the cookies?” Probably not. Should we be upset and surprised that the process was illegal and irregular? Once again probably not. We have heard of so many illegalities and irregularities perpetrated by the hospital that we have begun to ignore them.
There has been a major change in medical care in the United States over the last 25 years of my medical practice. Thirty years ago doctors had some power. Doctors take a Hippocratic oath, and are trained to put the welfare of their patients first. Doctors are thoroughly trained, after a long and difficult education, and are constantly tested to ensure their competence and continued education. Hospital administrators take no such oath, have no required training, and at this point have the power over our medical care. For this reason we must choose our administrators carefully.
The key to a hospital’s success is to provide high-quality medical care. I quickly proved that in 2005 as the Whidbey General Emergency Department Medical Director. Improving the hospital’s overall quality requires a board member that knows what medical quality is.
Are we heading in the direction of medical quality? Replacing physicians with mid-level providers such as nurse practitioners is not the right direction.
Could a doctor on the hospital board, one that knows where the hospital’s skeletons are buried, change things? Probably. Will the board members (that hid those skeletons) required to approve that doctors appointment step into such a difficult situation willingly? Certainly not. The voters, however, could elect such a person.
It would be very nice to have a hospital on the island that I could both attend and recommend to my neighbors and patients. Until then I will continue to refer my patients and friends off island.
Mark Borden MD