Hospital board to replace Nancy Fey

WhidbeyHealth’s board of commissioners will be searching for a candidate to fill an upcoming vacancy.

WhidbeyHealth’s board of commissioners will soon be searching for a candidate to fill an upcoming vacancy.

To help attract potential candidates, the elected members of the public hospital district board also made a significant change in governance recently.

Nancy Fey, the board secretary, announced her plans to resign, effective Sept. 30.

“It is time for someone with new ideas and thoughts to take WhidbeyHealth to the new level of care and financial security that is being laid out before us by the HealthTech team,” she said at a board meeting.

HealthTechS3 is a health care consulting firm that the board hired earlier this year to provide management expertise; the board fired the former CEO following revelations about the district’s precarious financial situation and a vote of no confidence by hospital medical staff. Hospital officials have said the district’s financial situation is now stabilized.

Fey has decades of experience in health care as a pharmacist in both retail and hospital settings. She worked at the hospital, when it was called Whidbey General Hospital, for nearly 26 years.

Fey was first appointed to the board in 2013 to replace Roger Case after he retired. Her current term ends Dec. 31, 2025.

To increase the pool of potential candidates, the board passed a resolution May 19 abolishing commissioner districts for WhidbeyHealth board members. Previously, commissioners were elected from different districts on Whidbey Island in an effort to ensure residents from across the island are fairly represented on the board. But the districts had the unintended consequence of limiting the number of eligible candidates.

The hospital board has historically lacked diversity, with retired people perennially dominating the ranks. After all, board members need to grasp the fundamentals of an ever-more-complicated health care system and hospital management. Board meetings are usually held mid-day, which some people have complained makes it difficult for anyone but retired or self-employed people to take part.

Board members receive $128 for each day they work with an accompanying annual cap. Not all board members choose to submit a “timecard” to get paid, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The board is putting together an updated job description, and then the hospital will begin advertising the open position for potential candidates.