Message to the Community
Dear Community Members,
You may have seen news stories in recent days about allegations of discrimination against our hospital. As the leader of an organization that is deeply committed to serving the community, I want to let you know that we take any allegations of discrimination very seriously.
First, I want to express my deepest apologies to Ms. Wilderotter and Ms. Cole for feeling anything less than valued at our hospital. As a policy and a practice, our hospital does not discriminate against anyone regardless of their race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation or ability to pay. This applies to our patients, visitors, staff and physicians.
We have looked into this situation, which involved family members visiting a loved one in our emergency department. After careful review of the medical situation, the timeline and discussions with staff that were involved, I do not believe that this was in any way a case of discrimination against these women. Instead, this was a missed opportunity to clearly communicate with Ms. Cole, Ms. Wilderotter and other family members about our visitor procedures in the emergency department.
In this case, the focus of staff was on providing quality care to Ms. Wilderotter. When visitors come to the emergency department, we always check first with the care team to make sure that it is an appropriate time for a family member or visitor to be with the patient in case there are tests or other assessments done. In this case, once the care team cleared visitors for the patient, family members were waiting to see the patient. At that time, they were allowed to go back to the patient care area of our emergency department.
This situation does offer us a chance to look at how we communicate general policies and practices to our patients, visitors and others in our hospital to ensure that this type of miscommunication does not occur in the future.
I want to assure you that our policy is that all employees participate in annual education around patient rights including equal rights of all persons. We also include this in the orientation that all employees are required to attend. We will be taking a new look at this training to make sure that it adequately addresses the topic. We are extremely proud to serve such a diverse community, and we are committed to providing care to each and every person who comes through our doors.
I believe that this is a situation in which we can learn from and improve our procedures. If you have questions or concerns about this situation, I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washington Adventist Hospital