Report shows WhidbeyHealth still short on cash

A persistent decline in inpatient visits is contributing to low cash reserves for the island hospital district.

WhidbeyHealth Controller Jennifer Reed told board commissioners Monday that the district had 14 days of cash on hand for operating expenses. At one point, this number dropped below 10 and CEO Ron Telles authorized use of a line of credit to boost it back up, Telles said.

“These are serious times,” he said. “These are serious issues.”

There was a small increase in revenue in May, but the number of days patients spent at the hospital continued to drop. There was a brief increase during flu season, then the numbers dove again after March.

In about a month, the Whidbey Island Public Hospital District is expected to get a large loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture loan program. The money will be used for infrastructure improvements to the original hospital building and to pay for cost overruns of the new wing.

However, Telles said with an average of only about 10 patient visits a day, more will need to be done to put the hospital district on stronger footing.

Ron Wallin, board president, noted that other hospitals are experiencing similar drops in inpatient visits. There are also a number of physician positions open, which he said is another shared experience with other hospitals in Washington.

“We aren’t unique,” Wallin said.

Those that do use WhidbeyHealth’s services seem to have mostly positive experiences for several categories of care, according to a survey, but the results also show that other institutions in the region still rank higher.

Linda Gipson, chief quality officer, shared Press Ganey Survey results that illustrated significant reductions in patient perception in the emergency department and medical practice.

Hospice and inpatient results improved over the previous rankings.

Telles told commissioners that hospital leadership would have to focus on return on investment before expanding or increasing services provided. He said it was going to take “courageous decision-making” to improve the financial situation.

More in News

County aims to allow more farm worker housing

Island County is looking to make it easier for farm owners and… Continue reading

Popular Haunted Fort Casey moves to pre-sale tickets

Some Whidbey Island residents are probably already dreaming of cooler fall days… Continue reading

Whidbey Community Foundation grant cycle begins

Whidbey Community Foundation’s second annual grant cycle is now open, offering funding… Continue reading

Whidbey Community Foundation Receives $10,000 for census count

Whidbey Community Foundation has received $10,000 in funding from the Washington Census… Continue reading

County gives Clinton trail another chance

South Whidbey may get another shot at a trail between the Clinton… Continue reading

Field carrier landing practices scheduled through Aug. 25

There are carrier-based flight training operations scheduled to occur at the Outlying… Continue reading

Field carrier landing practices scheduled Aug. 26 – Sept. 1

There are carrier-based flight training operations scheduled to occur at Naval Air… Continue reading

Three people seriously injured in head-on highway collision Saturday

Two people were airlifted and another seriously injured in a head-on collision… Continue reading

Oak Harbor chamber director seeks appointment to Senate seat

After five years leading the Oak Harbor business community, Christine Cribb is… Continue reading

Most Read