Editor’s Note: This is the third in our series of articles on the candidates who participated in a forum held at the Oroville American Legion Hall on Oct. 5. On hand to introduce themselves and answer questions from the audience were the two candidates running for North Valley Hospital Commissioner in Position 4 – Tina Holan and Stephanie Steinman.
Next week we will finish up with the Oroville School Board candidates, as well as the Tonasket School Board and Council candidates who were at forums held in Tonasket.
Each candidate was asked to introduce themselves and then they were asked three questions from the audience.
My husband and I moved to the area in 2016. He is a pharmacist and I’m a registered nurse. We first moved to Tonasket and he worked at the pharmacy there. I helped to our kids get settled in then I started working as an RN at Confluence in Tonasket and Omak. We opened Lakeside Pharmacy in 2017 and then we opened Whitestone Pharmacy in 2020.
So, after we worked to get Whitestone opened, I was too busy to keep working as an RN so I left that job and have been working full-time at the pharmacies. I have a strong background in health care. When we were starting to open Whitestone I also started to attend hospital board meetings to keep in the loop about how things were going in the hospital.
I have been regularly attending for a year and a half. In January of this year, I joined the Long-term COVID Plan Committee, they were looking for somebody who lived up north and since I lived in Oroville I thought I’d be a good representation for Oroville. So I’ve been serving on that committee at the hospital to help them develop this plan that will start in 2024.
When I learned that a board position was going to be open I thought that I thought I have a background in healthcare, I’ve been attending board meetings and maybe I should consider running for the board. So, I put my name in the hat and I figured I might do well because I have healthcare experience and I have business experience running both of the pharmacies.
I have lived in Okanogan County most of my life. My husband and I came back to Okanogan County and we raised our kids in Tonasket and now we have grandkids and all of that. We have owned and operated a construction business for over 30 years. I’ve been a bookkeeper. I was in real estate for several years and owned my own real estate company. For the last 10 years I’ve been in sales and health and wellness industries.
I was the treasurer for the Tonasket Junior Rodeo, when they charted I actually helped form the organization… get off the ground. When our daughter was done doing rodeo I kind of passed the torch.
I am a lifelong student; I am an avid reader. I have an absolute passion for health and wellness. I have am absolute passion for health and wellness. I have more of a holistic health background, I study herbal medicine and focus very much on preventative medicine.
My elective experience I am an elected PCO, Precinct Committee Officer. As a PCO when I was looking at positions that were open and trying to fill spots and saw the hospital I had a few people say why don’t you run for it. I thought about it and I thought I am very passionate about health and wellness. A lot of us maybe got rattled over the last few years with COVID and helping work. I thought it was a good place to bring my skills.
What do you see as a correctable issue?
As a person with a holistic health background, I like to look at preventative medicine. I feel my holistic background would be an asset, along with my business experience. Helping people spend a lot of money on health and wellness they don’t spend at the hospital. So I looked at how can we attract those dollars and retain them locally. Maybe can expand some services into the wellness and prevention field and bring more dollars to add to the financial stability and you’re also improving health.
I feel there can be a lot of issues in healthcare, not necessarily what the board can do. The board is limited in what it can do. One of the main issues I think we should look at is helping our CEO retain staff. We use a lot of traveling staff right now and that’s very expensive. So if we can find and recruit staff locally like nurses and doctors we will save money. And it is also better for the community because we all as community members that know our nurses, that know our doctors… I think that goes a long way in healthcare. So, I think that is one of the main issues that I feel is correctable.
How important is fiscal management to you as a representative of this hospital district?
Fiscal management is extremely important Rural hospitals across the country are struggling, just like many healthcare businesses in rural areas. They’re all struggling because we have decreased insurance reimbursements.
We need to be very responsible with our money and watch how we’re spending it. I think with my background in healthcare I’ve worked in multiple settings. I’ve worked in the community setting; I’ve worked in the school setting and I’ve worked for the hospital. And now I’m running two healthcare businesses. So, I have the experience to ask questions, I would be very careful with our money and I feel I would be a very good fit on the board.
Extremely, as Stephanie says rural hospitals across the nation are at risk, they are closing or losing services. We already saw our maternity ward close the past few years. I have a lot of experience in management. I’ve been a bookkeeper for over 30 years for local businesses. Our construction business has been 30 years and as treasurer of the rodeo. I feel like I would like to bring a different perspective as someone who has worked in preventative medicine, in holistic medicine. How do we broaden our customer base and bring more people in so they’re not just spending money, they’re spending it better.
I feel I am a good fit for this. I have a lot of business experience in sales and marketing. And I very passionate about health and wellness, focusing on the wellness. I know our community I am rooted here, my grandkids are here and I want to have a hospital for my family and your family for many years to come.
I have worked for about six years to bring increased access to our community, not only as an RN but at our pharmacies. I work every day behind the scenes to try and bring more services. All of these things take time – every service that I bring – vaccines, medication disposal for safe disposal of medications and locking bags for opioid medications. I developed the Pharmacy Technician training program for our pharmacies because I knew that was an issue. So, instead of waiting for Wenatchee Valley College to develop and program and try to recruit people from there, I wrote my own program. I submitted it to the state and it was approved and we now have four people who graduated from our program working at both our pharmacies. They have improved quality of life and they have higher potential for income and it’s helped our pharmacies because we actually have Pharmacy Technicians that are ordinarily hard to find and we recruited them here. We don’t have to go out of town.
So, I think the healthcare business is very different than any other business and I learned that running the pharmacies. You don’t get to control a lot of things that other businesses get to control. So, I have that understanding, I have the perspective of working in healthcare as an RN and as a Pharmacy Technician. I also have a perspective for the finances, I was a POA for my dad.