Hoquiam City Council express frustration to local hospital; discuss current issues and ask for solutions

Harbor Regional Health/Grays Harbor Public Hospital District 2 representatives were on hand Monday evening to speak to the Hoquiam City Council regarding concerns on local hospital response.

CEO Tom Jensen pointed to a number of things impacting the local hospital, including staffing shortages, capacity, the local payer mix, and a number of other issues. 

Multiple hospital representatives indicated that these are not exclusive to HRH, and the location and overall health of local residents have exacerbated these problems.

Dr. Julie Buck, Grays Harbor County Emergency Medical Services Program Director, also spoke on the staffing shortage.

Councilmembers spoke out on reports of multiple divert situations at HRH that have led to patients coming from Hoquiam through HFD or just for a hospital visit being sent to other facilities in the Olympia area or further.

Police Chief Jeff Myers addressed his frustration to the hospital candidly, pointing the finger at administration more than the number of issues being cited by hospital staff.

Myers also spoke on the recently hired mental health navigator position and the strain that not having what he sees as adequate care has on the overall needs of community members using the program.

Councilmember Steven Puvogel added to the conversation, stating that he feels everyone has the same goal of making it work but that this work is needed now.

Mayor Winkelman spoke, expressing thanks for comments from both sides, and said that the conversation will continue in the future.