WhidbeyHealth Wire: Hospital district makes strides toward stabilization

By MICHAEL Layfield

A two-plus year pandemic. Years of financial distress. A vote of no confidence from the medical staff. Near financial collapse. WhidbeyHealth has come a long way in recent months, surviving and working towards sustaining.

In March, the hospital district’s Board of Commissioners selected HealthTechS3 to provide experienced leadership that would help the hospital district improve its financial position quickly and efficiently – the first phase of stabilization. Hospital leadership is working to repair the communication and relationship with the medical staff. The two have agreed to collaborate alongside the district’s Board to improve hospital operations and community wellness as one team.

We’ve had many successes of late, widely discussed in the Whidbey News-Times & South Whidbey Record. We’ve identified financial improvement measures that better our position by $8 million this year and $12 million next year. We’ve been able to improve our cash liquidity from 10 days of operating cash on hand to over 30 in two short months.

WhidbeyHealth has been busy. It’s the community, the compassion and the care that drives us. It’s what continues to drive us as we transition into the next phase of stabilization. With that, we would like to share some breaking news:

An element of annual health care finance auditing is the evaluation of an institution’s “credit” and the likelihood of timely repayment on loans, etc. We’ve fixed elements of our finances that have updated our rating. We have now been reaudited and the “growing concern” tag that was attached to our rating has been removed. What does this mean? It means WhidbeyHealth now has the credit stability needed to secure the financing we need to support our sustainability goals. This is a big win and a corner turned.

In other news:

• We have a new Medical Director of Women’s Health and OB/GYN Care. She will be joining us in September.

• We have another OB/GYN that we believe will join our team in September as well.

• Inpatient Rehabilitation Care has resumed after a staffing-related hiatus.

• We are renegotiating an equipment contract, resulting in less expenses and access to a new CT scanner.

• Fluoroscopy services are expected to resume later this year.

• Moody’s Investment Service reassessed our financial position and belied us to be solvent in the short term and will reassess a third time as additional improvement measures are implemented.

WhidbeyHealth is very excited to share some positive news with our community. There is renewed hope for our future as we work to gain community confidence in WhidbeyHealth and all the care services we provide. We appreciate the opportunity Sound Publishing and WNT/SWR have provided us.

Mike Layfield is the interim CEO of the WhidbeyHealth public hospital district.