Changes are coming to the leadership team at Island Hospital.

Multiple positions are changing hands as people leave the organization, move to new positions and retire. The search for another leader started in November, but the search was paused when the COVID-19 pandemic started in March.

Interviews for the chief financial officer position (previously held by Elise Cutter, who is now the hospital’s COO) should be in late July and early August, CEO Charles Hall told the hospital’s board of commissioners at its meeting July 8.

Coors Leadership Capital is helping with the search for that position and for the chief nursing officer, being vacated by Denise Jones leaving the hospital. Interviews for that position are also expected in late July and early August.

Dennis Richards, the director of community relations and marketing, is retiring from the hospital this week. The hospital received several applications for his position and narrowed it down to seven candidates. Those candidates will go through a virtual interview process and then three top candidates will be brought to the hospital for on-site interviews, Hall said.

A surgical services director is also coming. The search started in November but was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hall said. The pool is now narrowed to three people, and a director should be chosen soon, Hall said.

The hospital continues to move forward, welcoming back patients, bringing on new doctors and forging partnerships with other health care organizations, he said. It is increasing its sports medicine program, 

increasing its gastrointestinal services and considering a partnership with an Orcas Island clinic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing, but the hospital made adjustments to help it keep moving forward, he said.

“This is not something that will go away any time soon,” Hall said.

However, the community also needs to adjust for the long-term, he said. Some in the community have become lax in mask wearing and social distancing, which is showing in the higher case loads being seen at Island Hospital, Hall said.

Between June 25 and July 8, the hospital saw 13 new COVID-19 cases. In the previous six weeks, it saw only two cases.

Skagit County had reached 619 cases as of Tuesday morning. That is 126 more cases than it had June 25.

The county remains in Phase 2 of the governor’s Safe Start reopening plan and has been losing ground on efforts to move up to Phase 3.

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