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Cammermeyer joins hospital board of commissioners

Grethe Cammermeyer was seated Monday as the South End’s representative on the Whidbey General Hospital board of commissioners, the board’s president said Tuesday.

Cammermeyer, of Langley, was the unanimous choice of a five-member selection committee to represent District 1, and joined the board at its regular monthly meeting in Coupeville, Case said.

Anne Tarrant, a business consultant, was seated as new District 5 commissioner, representing the area north of Oak Harbor.

“We’re delighted and are looking forward to working with them,” Case said. “They fill in some gaps we really needed to have filled in.”

Cammermeyer, 66, has lived on Whidbey Island since 1995. She’s a registered nurse with a doctorate’s degree in nursing science and

31 years in military service, including a tour as chief nurse of the Washington State National Guard and a career in the Veterans Administration Medical Care System specializing in primary care for sleep apnea and seizure patients.

She resumed nursing after retirement, and updated her credentials with clinical work at Whidbey General Hospital.

She owns and manages Saratoga View, an extended-family adult home in Langley, and is a board member of the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation.

She said her primary concerns regarding healthcare on the South End include the relationship between the hospital and the community, lack of community support and the relationship between providers.

Tarrant, who with her husband runs a business consulting firm, is an Oak Harbor native with membership in a number of community and volunteer organizations, Case said.

Both new commissioners will have to stand election next November to complete the vacant terms, which expire in 2011. From then on, each term on the board is six years, Case said.

The hospital board has been short-handed for more than three months.

In August, Holly Schoenknecht, of Langley, retired from the board. A District 1 commissioner for nearly 15 years, she said she planned to move to West Seattle, after 20 years in Langley, to be nearer her grandchildren.

In October, Kristy Miller, the North Whidbey commissioner, resigned for health reasons.

The hospital has big plans for the South End, with Bayview the hub.

Plans are moving forward on the long-discussed Whidbey General South Healthcare Services Center, to be built on hospital-owned property along Highway 525 across from Casey’s Red Apple Market.

And work has begun on a new $2.2 million Emergency Medical Services building being built along the other side of the highway near Bayview Road.

The hospital board also recently approved acquiring $18 million in revenue bonds to construct the two-story health services center. The 24,000-square-foot structure, projected to cost about $10 million, would centralize patient services offered in the South End.

It is projected to offer home healthcare, a rural health clinic, a lab, rehabilitation services, digital imaging, oncology and medical ambulatory care, a wellness center and community outreach and education.

An urgent-care and walk-in clinic may also be included if there’s enough money available, hospital officials said.

Final plans for the health center are expected to be completed in the next few months.

Construction is scheduled to begin next spring and the building is expected to be completed a year later.

When the new health services center opens, the current rural health clinic operated by the hospital in Clinton will close.

One of the first items of business of the new board will be to hire a new chief executive officer for the hospital.

Scott Rhine, administrator and CEO for the past 10 years, resigned at the behest of the board in October, five months earlier than his previously announced retirement date.

Case said the CEO selection process probably will take several months.

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