Soundoff: Patients have good reason to trust WhidbeyHealth

  • Tuesday, August 6, 2019 5:21pm
  • Opinion

My wife and I were guests at a lovely Oak Harbor wedding on Saturday, and several of the attendees, who have lived on Whidbey Island for many years, stopped me to ask how the hospital district was doing in light of the article that was your headline for the July 31 Whidbey News-Times: “WhidbeyHealth slapped with three malpractice suits.”

I believe I answered those guests in the way that I promised I would respond as chief of medical staff when I last wrote a letter to the editor of this paper in November — with honesty and transparency. With your indulgence, I would like to tell you how we’re doing.

We’re actually doing very well, indeed.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t have our challenges. Although our excellent emergency department continues to remain busier than ever, hospital inpatient admissions are down, as they are almost universally in Critical Access Hospitals nationwide. It’s kind of the goal, right? To keep folks out of the hospital.

Financially, though, this poses a challenge, as the Whidbey Island Hospital District depends on income from providing health care in order to keep moving forward. Although we are a public hospital district, less than 1 percent of the revenue we accrue to pay the bills, make payroll and maintain and operate our facilities comes from taxes, which puts us in the lower third of hospitals in Washington state.

Ultimately, this means we need our friends and neighbors to “shop local!” just as our business owners hope you shop locally when buying a car or hiring a wedding caterer.

But spending your hard-earned dollars in these economic times demands that you get a good return on your investment. And that is so important when the investment involves the health of your family.

I want you to know that WhidbeyHealth Medical Center is ranked equally with Providence and higher than Skagit Regional in both clinical outcomes and patient experience. Mortality rates for all major illness categories are the same as the national average, even though we have a higher level of acuity — sicker patients — than most other Critical Access Hospitals.

We perform better than other hospitals both regionally and nationally in the rate of all types of hospital-acquired infections, and we have been credited as a “Best Practice Top Performer.”

For the sake of privacy, I can’t comment on specific cases, but the cases reported last week in this paper are extremely rare for WhidbeyHealth Medical Center. For example, we perform in the top 10 percent of all hospitals in Washington state in preventing events such as device-associated complications, pressure ulcers and falls. Our 800 employees and providers strive to provide the best in quality and safety for each one of the hundreds of patients we serve every day.

I trust WhidbeyHealth to take care of my family members and my patients, and have done so for close to 30 years. I remain confident about our future, and invite you and your family to continue to trust in our doctors and nurses, and everyone else at WhidbeyHealth, to take the best care of you.

• Douglas G. Langrock, M.D., is chief of medical staff for WhidbeyHealth Medical Center.

More in Opinion

Sound Off: Recalling the Founders’ views of a free press

America’s Founders regarded a free press as so vital to the new… Continue reading

Sound Off: However you rock a face mask, just be sure you wear one

I’ve heard lots of dismal news about the pandemic, the public health… Continue reading

Editorial: No, we don’t need permission to report on meetings

Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes doesn’t seem to understand a really basic function… Continue reading

Newspaper returns to broadsheet format, moves to new home

No, you aren’t imagining things. Yes, the Whidbey News-Times-South Whidbey Record you’re… Continue reading

Editorial: It’s a difficult conversation, but one we must have

The City of Langley took an important step Monday. The council entered… Continue reading

Sound Off: Addressing white silence on Whidbey Island

I have had the immense privilege of being born and raised on… Continue reading

Sound Off: Be strong, resilient and listen to each other

I have been giving considerable thought to the circumstances we, as a… Continue reading

Editorial: Answers to protests not simple, but there is hope

Editorial writers at newspapers across the nation are grasping for words when… Continue reading

Editorial: COVID responses should continue as we reopen

Island County residents have taken the response to the pandemic seriously. That… Continue reading

Memorial Day: Remember, honor those who sacrificed

I am humbled anytime I have the opportunity to pay homage to… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Overcoming an eerie feeling in an empty tourist town

Eerie is an onomatopoeia – a word that sounds like what it… Continue reading

Editorial: Governor, allow the show to go on at Blue Fox Drive-in

Somehow people are choosing sides when it comes to COVID-19. And it’s… Continue reading