Whidbey Examiner


Chamber hosts discussion on hospital bond

Whidbey Examiner Staff
October 13, 2013 · Updated 3:43 PM

Lee Roof, who operates a private practice in Coupeville, talks to business leaders about an upcoming bond election that, if approved, will provide $50 million to fund an expansion of Whidbey General Hospital. / Nathan Whalen photo

Nearly 20 Coupeville business leaders got a look Tuesday morning of a proposal to expand and update Whidbey General Hospital.

Hospital officials want voters to approve a $50 million bond in November that would fund construction of a new patient wing that would consist of single-person rooms.

Plans also call for building a parking lot and transform the current patient wing into clinic space.

“There are great concerns about using our dated hospital into the future,” doctor Lee Roof, who owns a private practice in Coupeville, said Tuesday morning in front of an audience of 20 people attending a Coupeville Chamber of Commerce meeting.

The new wing, which will include 39 single-person rooms, will provide better facilities for infection control, meet privacy regulations and give patients a better environment to recover, Roof said.

The hospital’s bond has to pass by a 60 percent supermajority. If approved, property owners would have to pay 32.2 cents per $1,000 assessed property value. The owner of the $250,000 home will pay an additional $81 a year in property taxes and the bonds would be paid off in 25 years.

Business leaders attending the meeting wanted more details about the expansion proposal.

One person asked about the timeline the project would be complete. Keith Mack, public relations liaison with the hospital, said that would happen two years after the bond’s approval.

Another person wanted to know the number of beds at the hospital, which Mack said was 33.

He was also asked to elaborate on the technological upgrades that would be in store.

As an example of the current situation, the hospital has seen a number of nurses that have been injured when they try to lift and move patients.

Hospital spokeswoman Trish Rose said its difficult for the nurses to roll in a mechanical lift and then try to lift a patient.

The equipment in the new wing would help resolve that problem.

“What we want to do is make it easy to do it right and hard to do it wrong,” Rose said.

The November election marks the second time hospital officials have run the bond. The proposal two years ago fell short of the 60 percent supermajority needed for approval.

Whidbey General Hospital officials have been making the rounds at local groups to inform voters about the specifics of the bond.

In addition to the chamber meeting, officials have spoken to Rotary members, Lions Club members along with participating in voters’ forums.

Hospital officials will attend the League of Women Voters Forum scheduled for 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 17.

For more information about the bond, go to www.whidbeygen.org


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