A date has been set for the transition of three state-run medical facilities on Maui. The Board of Directors of the Maui regional Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation voted that starting July 1, 2017, Kaiser will take over operations.
The announcement came after months of speculation over the future of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital, and Lāna‘i Community Hospital. Kaiser was originally set to assume operations this past summer, but disputes with state union workers left the transition in limbo.
“The certainty, I think, has given people some relief,” said Avery Chumbley, the HHSC Maui Region Board Chair. Last week at a legislative briefing on Maui, he and other hospital officials outlined a new contingency plan that would require emergency funding from the state.
“This contingency plan gives us the ability, with the hiring of additional staff, to be able to stabilize the services," said Chumbley. "So we don’t have to make cuts in beds or cuts in services.”
The plan would cost $5.65 million and would be used to hire 55 additional nurses and 7 physicians.
Those new hires can’t come soon enough for Dr Ron Boyd, an interventional radiologist and the current chief of medical staff at Maui Memorial. He says they’ll need additional help as the hospital heads into its busy season next month.
“In the winter the hospital tends to be busier because a lot of the snowbirds have come here in the winter and are a little more senior in age. They bring with them a lot of illnesses and they tend to be a group that utilizes the hospital more,” said Boyd. “I think if we can get these extra staff hired, we’ll be able to fill in a lot of the slots.”
There are currently more than 400 vacancies at the hospital, about a quarter of the staff.