Care for you and our team
From the Board of Commissioners
As a Public Hospital District, Skagit Regional Health serves as a safety net for healthcare services. Our communities rely on the caregivers in our two hospitals and nearly 30 clinics to provide expert care, 24/7.
Right now, we need our community to understand the toll that the past 2.5 years has taken on our people and our organization. And, we need to ask for your help.
The COVID-19 pandemic started with major uncertainty and fears. Our healthcare team was nimble; we stayed on top of best practices; we treated people with COVID-19 and we have provided thousands of vaccinations to help prevent the illness.
As we shift to the endemic phase, we are facing profound fatigue. Our team is tired and it’s our job to support them, so they can continue to deliver first-class care to you.
This year, fueled by pent-up demand for healthcare services deferred during the early phases of the pandemic, we are facing extremely high patient volumes. Oftentimes, Skagit Regional Health’s two hospitals are operating beyond our stated capacity – for weeks and months at a time. Wait times are often long in our emergency departments and urgent care clinics. We are doing our best to provide safe and timely care and we continue to improve and save lives.
We, along with healthcare organizations across our state and nation, are facing a significant staffing shortage and must contract with temporary staff members – also known as “travelers” – to help care for our patients. We have supported our current staff with shift incentives, retention bonuses and have escalated recruitment and retention to our highest organizational priority. We must take these steps, and also acknowledge that these efforts represent an investment of millions of dollars.
About 10 percent of our hospital beds are occupied by patients who are medically stable and no longer need hospital-level care. However, due to staffing shortages and other challenges facing long-term care facilities and nursing homes, we are unable to discharge these patients. These extended-stay patients – some who are with us for months – require the same staff, supplies and services and are occupying beds that should be for those who need hospital care.
As a Public Hospital District, we need a margin to reinvest in equipment, infrastructure and important advancements in technology to provide the most advanced care to you. We have a long history of strong financial management and are fortunate to be set up to weather this perfect storm of financial and operational challenges.
Here is where we need the community’s help:
- Be aware of the issues facing healthcare: Oppressive fatigue of our people, staffing shortages, financial challenges - Skagit Regional Health is not alone in this, it’s common to every healthcare system in the state.
- Show kindness and patience: We need your understanding if there are longer than normal wait times. Our staff deserves your respect and to work in a safe environment free of violence and harassment. We are here to care for you and we will treat you with compassion and professionalism.
- Seek care in the appropriate setting: Consider primary care, urgent care or a virtual visit, reserving use of the Emergency Department only in a true emergency.
First and foremost, we are here to care for you. Making sure you are aware of our challenges and the need for short- and long-term solutions is a key to our future ability to expand and grow as we continue to provide access to the highest quality care our communities need and deserve.