Medical staff target Washington hospital CEO, COO, attorney in no-confidence vote

Medical staff for Coupeville, Wash.-based WhidbeyHealth Medical Center took a no-confidence vote in CEO and CFO Ron Telles, COO Garth Miller, MD, and hospital attorney Jake Kempton, a hospital spokesperson confirmed to Becker's

The spokesperson, Conor O'Brien, said the WhidbeyHealth Board of Commissioners and WhidbeyHealth executive leadership are unclear what the medical staff members' complaints are at this time.

The vote took place Jan. 31 during the scheduled Medical Staff Committee meeting. About 40 people participated in the vote, Ron Wallin, hospital board president, told the Whidbey News-Times. The medical staff includes employed and affiliated providers, such as physicians and nurse practitioners.

WhidbeyHealth said it is committed to quality healthcare in a statement shared after the vote. 

"As the community-owned source of compassionate, high-quality and integrated healthcare for the residents and visitors of Whidbey Island, WhidbeyHealth is committed to increasing the collaboration between leadership and providers to ensure that we provide the best patient care possible," the statement said. "We remain dedicated to our mission, vision and values and will continue to work toward implementing our strategic plan."

The no-confidence vote followed an audit report issued in August 2021. The audit, which covered Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2020, showed that the public hospital district is not up to date in submitting complete and accurate annual financial reports, according to the News-Times. The newspaper reported that the hospital currently has 20 days of cash on hand, and a property tax levy lid lift passed last year will add $6 million annually to the hospital's $115 million operating budget. 

Mr. O'Brien said the hospital board is holding an executive session with the medical staff and executive leaders later in February to review and discuss the no-confidence vote.

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