A multi-generational group of current and former patients of Whidbey General Hospital gathered in the rain Monday to witness the birth of WhidbeyHealth.
Over the last year, Whidbey General Hospital has been working to create a brand that would pull the medical group’s nine island-wide locations under the same banner.
Those efforts culminated this week as board members, staff and patients gathered for a ceremonial sign unveil at the WhidbeyHealth Medical Center in Coupeville.
In honor of the event, the hospital’s marketing manager Keith Mack staged a photo of current and former patients ranging in age from 7 days old to 98 years old. Mack said the photo represents a cross-section of the people the hospital has served over the last 46 years.
“It ties it all together,” Mack said.
The photo featured physician’s assistant Kristine Young, CEO Geri Forbes, Commissioner Ron Wallin, Angi Carlson, Emmy Carlson, 5, Erin Hedrick, Colin Hedrick, Piper Hedrick, 10 months, Jean Sherman, 98, Marilyn Clay, Zayne Roos, 4, Greg Case, Alexandra Block, and Lucas Case, 7 days old.
Whidbey Island Public Hospital District has grown substantially since it opened its doors in 1970. The District has become a $100 million-a-year healthcare network with outpatient services at the hospital and at locations from Clinton to Oak Harbor. This year, eight clinics will see an estimated 65,000 visits, which is one visit for every man, woman and child living on Whidbey Island, according to a recent news release.
The hospital is in the midst of its fourth major expansion since 1970 with the construction of a new 39-room inpatient wing is slated to be finished in mid-2017.
The clinics owned by the district previous retained their original names, eight clinics under six different names, making it appear that they were not connected to Whidbey General Hospital. Forbes said the WhidbeyHealth umbrella will create better clarity and convenience for patients.
“People want connection and continuity in their healthcare,” said Forbes. “A unified identity communicates that everyone is working together to ensure a patient’s well-being across the continuum of care.”
The name change comes after some tough years for a the public hospital which has taken heat for a number of issues including operating in the red for several years, a heated negotiation with the state nurses association and a lawsuit against its chief of nursing.
Forbes is just finishing her first year as the hospital’s new CEO. Her goal has been to take the hospital in a new direction, improve service quality and become more involved in the community.
The cost of the brand change is somewhere around $150,000. But uniting the services under one logo and one name should build efficiencies and cost savings in the long run, according to Mack. In addition to the new signs, the switch also includes changes such as new email addresses, stationary and name tags.
For more information, visit WhidbeyHealth’s new website at www.whidbeyhealth.org.