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VMC volunteer, PICC director running for hospital board | ELECTION 2013
Two candidates with different ties to Valley Medical Center are running in the Nov. 5 general election to replace Anthony Hemstad as a Public Hospital District No. 1 commissioner.
Albert P. Haylor of Kent, a retired airline employee, has volunteered at Valley Medical for five years.
Barbara Drennen of Kent, the executive director of the Pediatric Interim Care Center (PICC) in Kent, has worked closely for years with medical staff at Valley and at UW Medicine in treating drug-affected infants at her Kent facility.
Hemstad has moved from the hospital district; he was elected to a six-year term in 2007 to commissioner District 3 on the hospital district board.
Haylor didn't respond to interview requests via phone and email from the Renton Reporter. In the voters pamphlet, he wrote he's running because "I want to continue serving our community."
In an interview Drennen said Valley Medical Center and UW Medicine were key early supporters of PICC, which has helped thousands of babies withdraw from drugs, including cocaine, that they were exposed to before birth.
Valley Medical Center provided $30,000 that went toward start-up costs. Doctors from UW Medicine provided policies and procedures she and her co-founder used to design the PICC program.
"I owe them a great debt of thanks, really," Drennen said. "That's why I feel I need to pay it forward and repay them for their kindness."
The strategic alliance between the Public Hospital District, which owns Valley Medical Center, and UW Medicine is one of the issues in the campaign.
Only Haylor has opted to raise enough money in the campaign to require full reporting of campaign financing to the state Public Disclosure Commission.
The largest contribution as of Oct. 23 – $5,000 – to Haylor's campaign was from Valley Eye and Laser Center PS, whose officers are Dr. Paul Joos and Dr. Peter Jones. They practice together at the clinic on the Valley Medical campus.
Joos is the president of the Public Hospital District board. Joos also personally contributed $800 to Haylor's campaign.
As of Oct. 23 under full-reporting, Haylor had raised $9,830 and spent $9,724, according to the Public Disclosure Commission. Haylor received 20 donations of $200 or less.
Drennen is using the disclosure commission's mini-reporting, which means she isn't required to file detailed financial reports to the state.
To meet the mini-reporting standard, she must raise and spend no more than $5,000 and collect no more than $500 total from any one contributor.
Drennen, who has lived in Kent most of her life and where she raised her family with husband Kenneth, was a foster parent who in the late 1980s was receiving some drug-affected babies from UW Medicine.
Doctors and nurses were in her home, treating babies on ventilators.
The UW asked her if she could care for the babies "on a larger scale," she said. Thus PICC was born, with the help of the local community and local and state political leaders.
PICC receives taxpayer support through the state, but in return has saved the state 10s of thousands of dollars because it can treat the infants in Kent for about $200 a day rather than having them stay in a hospital.
This is Drennen's first run for political office.
She's been approached by both sides in the alliance debate, providing her with information about what's going on with the alliance and at the hospital.
"What I am trying to do is not fill my head with that," she said. "I want to stay as neutral as I can, and, I may be wrong, but I want to come in with an open mind and learn as I go."
She points to the experience she would bring to the commission – running her center, concern about fiscal responsibility and patient care.
Drennen said she would have voted to form the alliance, had she been on the board. But she does have concerns.
"I don't want Valley to lose its identity," she said.
What she likes about the affiliation is that it's bringing medical resources to the community, without going to Seattle, and enhancing Valley Medical Center, she said.
As a member of the alliance's Board of Trustee, she wants to be a voice for patients and have a stake in patient care. She wants to support the nurses who provide that care.
The pay Rich Roodman, Valley's CEO, receives "is an issue," she said. "I think he has done a lot," she said.
Drennen says she's in the race for the patient, not for the politics.
"I am going in with my independence," she said. She'll take a stand on her own, not because she was pulled in a particular direction, she said.
"Patient care is really really important to me, especially the newborn and children and the elderly," she said.
Albert P. Haylor
In the voters pamphlet, Haylor wrote about his volunteer work at Valley Medical Center. He has served on the Kent Planning Commission and the King County Boundary Review Board.
He wrote that he's concerned the alliance with "UW Medicine has eroded local control of the hospital and is harming patient care."
The hospital district has lost its local control, he wrote, because while the five elected hospital commissioners sit on the alliance Board of Trustees, it includes eight members appointed by UW Medicine.
He will fight what he describes as the "bloated salaries" paid to Valley Medical executives.