Peter Swanson began his career in health care finance at Skagit Valley Hospital in 1971. He tried his hand at running a chain of retail stores in the 1990s, and he came to Island Hospital as chief financial officer in 2003.
Swanson will retire at the end of this year, and he recently took a look back at his career in Anacortes.
“This hospital is not the same hospital it was in 2002,” he said.
He said the hospital has grown. And he said health care finance has changed with technology, insurance and government programs. More changes are coming in the years ahead.
Among the changes to the hospital during Swanson’s time, he lists the new hospital building near the top.
He said he was grateful to taxpayers in 2004 for voting to fund the $40 million project, which would have set the hospital back financially.
“It would have been tough,” Swanson said.
The expansion and renovation opened in 2008.
Swanson also worked to save the hospital nearly $2 million on the Medical Arts Pavilion through the federal New Market Tax Credits program. That building opened early this year.
With Swanson as CFO, the hospital has also acquired Island Radiology, Island Medical Dental Center, Fidalgo Medical Associates, Island Surgeons and several other practices over the years.
He said those acquisitions have allowed the hospital to gain some revenue while consolidating services.
Swanson said the biggest challenge the hospital faces in the future is keeping up with advances in medical technology.
Smaller hospitals, such as Island, have smaller budgets and take a bigger hit when they add expensive state-of-the-art technology services.
But those services are often needed to attract young physicians who are accustomed to such equipment and want to keep their skills marketable on the health care market.
“New docs coming out of training need the tools of the trade,” he said.
Swanson said he has enjoyed his time at Island Hospital, working with the Board of Commissioners, hospital CEO Vince Oliver and his financial team.
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