Wrangell Sentinel -


Sanger newest admin to lead WMC


Marla Sanger

Wrangell Medical Center has yet another new administrator at its helm while the City and Borough of Wrangell and PeaceHealth Ketchikan search for a new, permanent replacement for former hospital chief Noel Rea.

Rea was fired on June 20 in a 6-1 decision by the former WMC Board of Directors – a decision that resulted in a lawsuit against Rea and the members voting for his dismissal.

The new administrator, Marla Sanger, arrived in Wrangell last week and began her first day of work on Monday, Nov. 5. Sanger takes the place of interim administrator Barbara Bigelow, who will return to her position as Vice President of Quality at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

Sanger, who has decades of experience in healthcare in the Pacific Northwest, said she is aware of the issues she is facing coming to Wrangell.

“I have been made aware that the hospital and community have undergone some challenges,” Sanger said. “As a result, PeaceHealth has been brought in to help in any way that we can. That’s how I come into the picture.”

Sanger’s vision and plan, she says, is simple – build on what we have in the hospital and the borough.

“Ultimately, I want to honor the vision the medical center already has,” she said. “We need to follow our heritage and be the pride of the community. I feel like there is a strong desire to rebuild and restore the public’s faith in the hospital and make forward movement. That is my organizational vision.”

Overall, Sanger’s vision, she added, is simple, yet all-encompassing for the residents of the city.

“Every person who needs health care should have access to quality care,” she said. “We need to show respect to our clients and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”

Sanger most recently served as a Program Manager on the System Quality and Process Improvement Team at PeaceHealth. She has acted as a Regional VP for Quality and Process Improvement between 2005-2009 and has been Assistant VP for Patient Care Services beginning in 2002. 

Additionally, she has worked as a licensed registered nurse in multiple settings, including two years in Angoon. She has held various roles at Seattle Children’s Hospital for more than 25 years. Her area of clinical practice was the Infant ICU until she moved into leadership as a Nursing Supervisor and for 7 years was Director of the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.

Her current responsibilities included membership on Planned Care and Palliative Care change leadership teams as well as the advancement of Patient- and Family-Centered Care. Sanger holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.


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