The Washington State Hospital Association presented Mason County Hospital District No. 1 Commissioner Scott Hilburn with its inaugural Ben Lindekugel Governance Excellence Award at the association’s annual meeting, Oct. 9, at the Hyatt Regency in Renton. Hilburn has served as an elected commissioner for the Hospital District for 18 years. Mason County Public Hospital District No. 1 oversees Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics.
The Ben Lindekugel Governance Excellence Award was created this year to recognize a hospital board member or commissioner who has displayed exemplary leadership and community service. The award was named after the late Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts Executive Director Ben Lindekugel, who was dedicated to ensuring good governance among hospitals across Washington.
“Scott has been a tremendous commissioner who cares deeply about his community,” said Cassie Sauer, WSHA president and CEO. “Scott represents the very best in hospital governance: a passion for his community, commitment of his time and attention, and a dedication to finding solutions to challenging problems. We are excited to honor him with this award.”
Growing up, Scott Hilburn didn’t feel a strong sense of community — his father’s career in electronics and the emerging television markets meant the family moved throughout the country most of Hilburn’s childhood. He went on to earn a business degree from the University of Oklahoma and then serve in the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1966. Ford Motor Company recruited Hilburn to the company’s executive training program, which brought him to Shelton to oversee a struggling auto dealership.
Hilburn ended up purchasing a dealership, and he found the community he didn’t know he was looking for. He planted roots in Shelton in 1971, and since then, he hasn’t looked back. He went on to grow his business and raise his two sons with his wife, Karen Hilburn.
In the 1980s, Hilburn served on the District’s Board of Commissioners for six years, but the organization was very different then compared to now. Seeking new challenges, Hilburn went on to serve as mayor of Shelton. He also became active in many other organizations in the community, including the Noon Kiwanis Club, the Mason County Intergovernmental Council, the Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce, which honored him as a Citizen of the Year, and the Economic Development Council of Mason County.
Hilburn co-founded the Karen Hilburn Cancer Fund in 2004, to financially support underinsured and uninsured Mason County women for treatment of breast and cervical cancers. His work with the Fund, a chapter of Mason General Hospital Foundation, brought him in the orbit of the Hospital District once again. He has served on the board for nearly 12 years.
“The change in the Hospital stands out,” Hilburn said of what’s changed during his two tenures. “We’ve made big strides in our quality delivery system. We’ve improved in nearly every way at the Hospital, from reduction in patient falls to fewer patients getting infections after surgery. The staff also receives more training and we have new equipment. It truly feels like a new day for Mason General.”
Hilburn’s favorite thing about the District is its people.
“At Mason General, when we accomplish something really special, it’s because we have a team of leaders all working together to achieve a common goal,” he said. “I am thankful to our CEO Eric Moll, my fellow commissioners, Gayle Weston and Don Wilson, and to Karen, my wife, who supports my mission to make our Hospital the very best it can be.”
MGH&FC is certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. MGH&FC now offers 3D Mammography Services and Virtual Care 24/7. For more information on 3D mammograms, Virtual Care or to find a health care provider, visit www.MasonGeneral.com.