Options in Native Hawaiian Health Care

December 29, 2010, 10:34 AM HST · Updated December 29, 10:34 AM
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Photo credit: search.volunteerhawaii.org/orgNative Hawaiian health care is based in lokahi – the belief that health and well being are the result of man’s harmonious relationship between the spirit world and nature. This style of health care is still practiced throughout the islands today, through the Hui Mala Ola Na Oiwi and other clinics of the Native Hawaiian Health Care System. We have the basics of this traditional health care system, including the types of services available and where you can go to find the care you need.

The Bay Clinic Hawaii

The Bay Clinic Hawaii, located at Hilo on Big Island, is the main office for the Hui Mulama system. This office provides a wide range of services, including family practice, internal medicine and family planning. Patients can receive a variety of screenings and physical examinations to keep the native population of Hawaii as healthy as possible.

In addition to traditional forms of medicine, Hui Mulama also offers healing practices like Ho’oponopono and Lomilomi. While these services might not be available directly within the Hui Mulama clinics, the staff does provide referrals for them. This ensures Hawaiians can get the type of health care they are most comfortable with, whether that is through a medical doctor in a traditional clinic or holistic practices offered by island healers.

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Serving the Hawaiian Population

Because much of the native population this health care system serves is unaware of their health needs, the Hui Mulama system strives to educate their patients about how to make healthy lifestyle choices and the importance of regular screenings for common diseases. Another hurdle the health care system must overcome is the difficulty getting to and from appointments, with health care spread throughout a number of islands. Hui Mulama provides transportation and satellite offices at a number of locations to help native Hawaiians get the health care they need.

Care managers work with the patients in the Hui Malama system, helping them get health insurance, medications and routine health maintenance. These professionals coordinate care, scheduling doctor’s appointments for patients and ensuring they receive the screenings they need regularly to remain healthy. Particular attention is focused on health issues most prevalent on the islands, including substance abuse, mental illness and heart and lung diseases.

Hui Malama receives funding from the Kau Community Health Coalition and the Hawaii Perinatal/Healthy Start Program. This network of clinics is committed to working for the best interests of the estimated 43,500 native Hawaiians that live throughout the islands today.

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