Whidbey General Hospital names new commissioner

After several hours interviewing potential candidates, the Whidbey General Hospital board of commissioners filled a vacant spot on the board.

The four commissioners appointed Georgia Gardner to the District 2 seat that was most recently held by Paul Zaveruha, who resigned his position in April.

Gardner, who grew up in Coupeville, remembers living on the island when there wasn’t a hospital on Whidbey.

“I know how important it is to the community,” Gardner said Tuesday morning. She added that a strong hospital is also a good economic driver because it makes the community attractive to people considering a move to Whidbey Island.

The commissioners held a special board meeting last Friday to interview six candidates for the empty seat. In addition to Gardner, Mark Borden, Vin Sherman, Robert King, Dennis Bright and Bill Wiegand applied.

The hospital board isn’t Gardner’s first foray into an elected position. She served on the Blaine City Council for eight years and then represented the 42nd District as a representative and a senator in Olympia from 1997 through 2002.

She hopes her background as an accountant will serve her well as a member of the hospital board.

“It’s a terrible time financially for hospitals,” Gardner said, adding that reimbursements the hospital receives have been cut while costs to provide those services have increased. She said she will examine the hospital’s finances to help improve its situation.

She also hopes to work with hospital leaders to find a new way to present the hospital’s financial information in a more understandable way to the public. She’ll have to run for election to retain her seat.

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