Hospital ponders adding new position to executive team

As WhidbeyHealth continues its efforts to reinvent itself, its board is considering adding a new position at the executive level.

At Monday’s regular meeting, Chief Operating Officer Colleen Clark recommended adding a chief medical officer to the hospital’s administration. The position would act as a liaison between medical staff and other members of the executive team.

There wouldn’t be an added cost to make the change because the surgical services medical director and medical quality director positions would be eliminated and the responsibilities absorbed by the new medical chief, Clark said. The employee health medical director position would also be eliminated, she told hospital commissioners.

Most major hospitals, including many of the surrounding ones, have a chief medical officer, Clark said. The new chief would also work with quality and safety, chair the Utilizations Review Committee and participate in strategic and organizational discussions.

“We do not have a physician sitting at the table with us,” Clark said Monday.

Dr. Doug Langrock, who is chief of staff, does sit at the table next to members of WhidbeyHealth’s administration during regular meetings, but the position is not part of the executive team.

A chief medical officer is a physician and an administrator who leads the medical staff.

CEO Ron Telles said he is in favor of adding the new chief. He said it’s a “provider-focused” approach and will be “patient centric.”

Clark will present the proposal to WhidbeyHealth’s Medical Executive Committee in early January before bringing it back to the board for a final decision.

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