2013 Election - Hospital District 4, Position No. 5

Name: Lael M. Duncan

Age: 62

Family: Two daughters, one son, three grandchildren

Occupation: Executive director of Okanogan County Community Action Council

Career/educational background: University of Washington, certified Economic Development Finance Professional, Non Profit CEO since 1997 prior careers in Insurance, Real Estate, and Banking.

Served on 20-plus Boards of Directors – Past President of: Washington State Community Action Partnership, The Economic Alliance, and Washington State Coalition for the Homeless. Governor’s appointee to Advisory Council on Homelessness.

• What does the hospital need to do to address changes in medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?

The hospital will be doing more outreach to our district residents to achieve a greater degree of health.

Because we will be reimbursed on a capitated rate for health care of many low income Medicaid residents, their improved health not only transfers into an obvious benefit for the community and the patients, but also for the hospital bottom line. Education in nutrition, fitness and general wellness will be a good investment in the community.

The hospital will also be partnering with other providers to achieve greater economy in presenting this information.

• With almost $2 million in warrants owed, how would stabilize the hospital’s financial situation?

The warrants are now under $1 million – a substantial improvement in a very short time.

Stabilizing the finances will literally take an act of Congress. The reality of our high Medicaid enrollment will continue to challenge us as the federal government does not fully reimburse hospital costs and whereas areas like Spokane have more private insurance payments that make up for the gap, we do not.

I believe we do have some opportunities such as attracting Canadians to receive care here, and encouraging more residents to support the facility by receiving their care here.

• Should the hospital reconsider an assisted-living facility in the future, or continue forward without one?


Not unless the federally imposed requirement forcing us to accept Medicaid patients is changed, assisted living facilities will be a losing proposition for a publicly owned hospital.

That is why four facilities have closed recently.

It would be irresponsible to restart something that loses money.

A private investor could develop a facility, however in my discussions with these investors, they will not consider taking Medicaid clients.

How do we care for elders (like me)? I look forward to more community engagement – all of us working together to solve this issue.

Name: Teresa Hughes

Age: 45

Family: I am a single parent raising my daughter, Sierra who is attending Spokane Community College and my son, Jordan who is a sophomore at Tonasket High School.

Occupation: Mission support specialist for the federal government

Career/educational background: Attended Eastern Washington University and I have over 23 years of Federal Service.

I’ve held many positions such as recreation and forestry technician, administrative assistant, computer assistant, purchasing agent, mission support assistant, and telecommunications queue manager. I believe I can learn to do any job and do it well.

• What does the hospital need to do to address changes in medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?

The Hospital Board of Commissioners along with the Senior Management Team need to become educated on the Affordable Care Act and then educate the hospital staff and the community on the affects of this Act as it pertains to them. It will be important to keep learning and growing with this program as it evolves.

• With almost $2 million in warrants owed, how would you strive to stabilize the hospital’s financial situation?

As in all businesses, you need to find ways to bring in more revenue and reduce costs while maintaining quality service.

Expenses including utilities and employee costs all the way down to office supplies need looked at as a place to find savings.

A means of revenue is to develop a trust in the community to obtain their routine services at North Valley Hospital district instead of going south of Tonasket for these.

I believe that there are community members who have great viable ideas on this matter and I would be willing to listen and utilize their ideas.

• Should the hospital reconsider an assisted-living facility in the future, or continue forward without one?


I would not want to exclude any option in the future and feel that the Assisted Living Facility was an asset to our community.

There are changes that the current Board of Commissioners are making to the heating and ventilation system in the old Assisted Living building that might make it cost prohibitive in the future to ever change that building back into an Assisted Living Facility.


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