Letter: Dedicated doctors, nurses deserve better


I want to offer thanks to all the dedicated doctors and nurses in the WhidbeyHealth network who have given us quality, compassionate care before, and continuing through, these times of pandemic. It’s sad and unconscionable that these same providers have had to labor under a poorly functioning administration and now potentially face going without paychecks in the near future.

We have already learned that our physician has accepted employment elsewhere. How many more good people will we lose? Last week, our nurse told me that she loves her work and just tries to ignore the politics that surround it. But, if one can’t count on being paid in a timely fashion, how long can a person ignore the situation?

Having absolutely no expertise in hospital and health care administration, I can’t presume to have a solution; however, it would only be reasonable to expect that people who seek election to sit on a board of commissioners would have such background and knowledge. Or, maybe not. There’s no real monetary compensation for the positions.

Are we, as citizens, expecting too much of these figureheads? Do they themselves use this health care system? If so, they would have been aware of the inability, for months, to satisfactorily communicate by phone with the various offices. And, even with the complications of insurance billings, what business fails to send requests for payment until a full year after services have been rendered? Those issues have recently been improving, so perhaps steps are being taken in the right direction.

We have a fine public hospital and clinical facilities. What a shame it would be to lose them. We will all suffer in that event. I understand the reluctance of the county commissioners to step in to shore up a mismanaged operation, but it is a county hospital, and it has been suggested that a temporary loan to meet employee payroll as a bridge until property tax revenues become available at the end of April, might make a very big difference in our future access to healthcare.

Regardless, our doctors and nurses have my appreciation.

Marilyn Harbaugh

Oak Harbor