Whidbey General Hospital commissioner attacked for alleged conflict of interest

A vocal hospital critic spoke during a July 11 Whidbey General Hospital board meeting and demanded that commissioners eliminate an alleged conflict of interest concerning one of its own board members.

The alleged conflict concerns Dr. Paul Zaveruha, who is serving both as an elected commissioner and Whidbey General Hospital’s Emergency Medical Services director.

“If I can’t get any help from officials on a no-brainer like Dr. Z’s conflict of interest, I don’t expect you to do much about the hospital’s many other current problems and scandals,” Greenbank resident Robert Born said in a statement he read aloud.

Zaveruha was first elected as a hospital commissioner in November 2003. To resolve the conflict of interest back then, Zaveruha was terminated from his EMS position. Then a separate business was formed and the hospital contracted the EMS director position through that business. Zaveruha was hired through the business to continue his work as director.

Born said he contacted the state legislators and the state Attorney General’s office about Zaveruha’s relationship with Whidbey General Hospital.

Anne Tarrant, board president, said during the meeting that the state auditor’s office reviewed Zaveruha’s relationship with the hospital and determined it satisfied the “remote interest” exceptions to the state’s conflict of interest statutes.  The auditor’s office is again reviewing Zaveruha’s relationship with the hospital.

Zaveruha said after the meeting that he isn’t considering resigning his seat. The issues have been worked out twice before and they will be again for a third time, he said.

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