Foundation Urges Support of Legislation for Maui Hospital Partnership

March 2, 2015, 3:10 PM HST · Updated March 2, 3:11 PM
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HHSC Maui District executive Wesley Lo testifies before the legislative hearing on the state's public health system budget shortfalls. Photo 11/10/14 by Wendy Osher.

HHSC Maui District executive Wesley Lo testifies before the legislative hearing on the state’s public health system budget shortfalls. Photo 11/10/14 by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation issued an email to supporters today urging them to write letters in support of legislation that backs a proposed public-private partnership for Maui hospitals.

“We humbly ask for your support of our Maui hospitals, and support legislation which would authorize the Maui Regional System to enter into an agreement with a private entity to transition one or more of its facilities into a new private Hawaiʻi non-profit corporation,” an email to supporters stated.

In the email communication, the Foundation urges letters be sent to lawmakers in support of the transaction saying it “would allow a qualified and experienced non-profit partner to bring financial, recruiting and other important resources, updated technology and best practices, and most importantly a business model that champions for growth, and not cuts.”

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In November, hospital executives met with lawmakers to discuss the issue saying they did not have investment capital to grow new services, and to adapt to the Affordable Care Act.  Supporters said the partnership would bring the Maui Memorial Medical Center up to speed and avoid the growing pains and delays which would occur if challenges were mounted alone.

Maui County facilities that fall under the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation include the Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lānaʻi Community Hospital.

Foundation representatives say the healthcare business has changed because of federal mandates, increased costs, physician shortages, and declining hospital reimbursements.

“The longer we wait, the more services we’ll lose, the more of our employees will stand to lose their jobs, and the more our community will suffer,” the Foundation email stated.

“We must have enabling legislation immediately. The very real and near consequences of service closures on the neighbor islands will have a devastating affect on our community and will ripple across the state,” the letter stated.

In a letter to lawmakers, supporters say, being transported to Oʻahu for care is “unacceptable.”  Letters to lawmakers in support of the legislation ask committee members to consider the needs of the 160,000 Maui County residents, and Maui’s 2 million annual visitors.

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