Three candidates for a seat on Whidbey General Hospital’s board of commissioners offered vastly different takes on leadership during a forum on South Whidbey Thursday.
About 50 people showed up for the forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at the the Langley United Methodist Church.
The crowd heard from the three candidates for a seat on the hospital board as well as the three vying to become the next mayor of Langley. The top two candidates in the Aug. 4 primåary will move on to the general election in November.
Joyce Amatuzzo of Oak Harbor asked the candidates what they’d do about what she said were impending cuts to the hospital’s Medicare reimbursement rates. Rita Drum said the hospital must be prepared for lower reimbursement. Georgia Gardner, the incumbent who was appointed in July 2012, said Whidbey General Hospital may be affected because it is a critical access hospital, but a just-in-case budget was created with several possible factors included.
“We’ve got a three-year pro forma budget,” Gardner replied, “…with all these scenarios plugged into it.”
Robert Born of Greenbank said he thought the hospital was protected as well because of its critical access designation.
In closing statements, Gardner said she was dedicated to the oversight of the hospital’s finances. As a certified public accountant, that’s where her expertise was best utilized. She cited the hospital’s switch to a different software without asking for a tech levy as an example of strong stewardship of public funding.
Born, who has long dogged the hospital district for public records, said he was a problem identifier and solver by nature.
“I’m an advocate, I’m a lawyer, I’m a communicator,” he said.
Drum said her vast experience working in healthcare as a pathologists’ assistant would help her understand the inner workings of the hospital.
“I believe that my knowledge of hospitals is fabulous,” she said. “A hospital needs someone who is able to communicate with the hospital staff.”