VIDEO: Maui Hospital Repairs on Legislative Radar

April 6, 2012, 11:28 AM HST · Updated April 8, 9:36 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Senate President Shan Tsutsui conducted a site visit of Maui Memorial Medical Center on Thursday as a key measure makes its way through the legislature seeking funds for the repair and maintenance of state facilities.

Sen. Pres. Tsutsui said the funds would not only create greater efficiencies, but he said, “ultimately we just want to make sure that as some parts of our hospital starts to age, that we continue to have the financial resources to make sure that it’s maintained, and we can extend the life of the facility.

“We have some improvements,” said Maui Memorial Medical Center CEO, Wesley Lo, “but we’ve been building this hospital since 1952, and adding on to things.  Certainly we try to provide the best care we can and I think there’s a lot of things have changed and the delivery of care has changed,” said Lo.

Maui Memorial Medical Center, lab. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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“When you have old, tired facilities or infrastructure, you have to keep on putting money into it because in a hospital, you can’t stop taking care of patients,” said Lo.  “You don’t have the ability to go down.”

Some of the proposed repairs at the Maui hospital include upgrades to 30-year-old elevators, replacement of old sinks, and improvements to address space constraints.

“If an elevator goes down, how do you transport that patient?,” said Lo.  “You need to continue to be able to provide service and keep up with repairs and maintenance because in health care, you can’t afford it not to work.”

“People don’t look at repair and maintenance as being something that’s exciting,” said Tsutsui, who noted it’s always more exciting to have a new facility.

Maui Memorial Medical Center. Photo by Wendy Osher.

But, he said, there are a number of repair and maintenance issues that are health related.

“We took a look at some of the older sinks and in hospitals, apparently, we shouldn’t be having sinks where people need to touch the levers,” said Tsutsui.  “So there’s some sanitation issues.”

“We have a lot of issues like that,” said Lo.  “We’re in a lot of cramped spaces; temperatures go up because of the equipment; there’s more fancy procedures that we need to do; and so, we’ve got to keep up with our repairs and maintenance.  We’ll continue to try to do our best, but it’s not the ideal environment,” said Lo.

Maui Memorial Medical Center, lab. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Senate version of the bill had also sought temporary exemptions for some of the procurement laws to expedite some of the repair and maintenance projects.

“A lot of the projects we’re talking about re-roofing, electrical upgrades, reconfiguration of existing space.  A lot of those really don’t need a whole lot of review process.  They don’t have to go through an EA or an EIS, so we look at these projects as ones that can be one quickly,” said Tsutsui.

“They’re projects that can really get people back to work, and not have to wait through a whole planning and design process,” he said.

Senate President, Shan Tsutsui. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Senate’s flagship bill (SB2012) this session that included an additional $500 million for repair and maintenance projects at hospitals, schools and airports failed to get a hearing when it crossed over to the House.

“So what we did was we took one of the House bills (HB2145) and reinserted some of our language in it,” said Sen. Pres. Tsutsui.

The House bill will be voted on by the full Senate on Tuesday, April 10.

“Beginning next week, we’ll enter into conference and we’ll try to have a discussion; and hopefully, we can get our colleagues in the house to realize the importance of this measure,” said Tsutsui.

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