KAHULUI, Hawaii – Council Chair Gladys Baisa on Monday night urged state legislators to pass a measure that will find long-term solutions to address the financial condition of Maui County’s state hospital facilities.
More than 100 people attended an informational hearing by the State House Committee on Health at the Maui Waena Intermediate School to discuss the declining fiscal condition of Maui County’s hospitals.
“I beg you, keep it healthy,” Baisa said to the committee, chaired by Rep. Della Au Bellati. “Maui Memorial is the only hospital we have.
“It’s a big strain for local families whenever they need to go to Oahu to receive medical services.”
Baisa submitted written testimony prior the meeting noting more than 11,000 inpatients and more than 45,000 emergency room patients are annually served by Maui County’s primary hospital, Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku, and two smaller facilities, Kula Hospital in Upcountry Maui and Lanai Community Hospital on the island of Lanai. Baisa said the demand for healthcare services is outpacing operating budgets, and decreases in state subsidies threaten the hospitals’ reliability and job security for more than 1,500 employees.
A representative from Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which operates the hospitals, said legislators would need to appropriate $117 million to the public healthcare system to allow the Maui County regional hospitals to continue their services. Other testifiers told legislators about their personal experiences with medical care at Maui Memorial, stressing the hospital’s importance to the community, while some touted a private-public partnership as a solution to the hospital’s financial problems.
The 2015 state legislative session begins Jan. 21.
# # #