Maui News

Maui Hospital Legislation Faces Critical Crossover Deadline

March 9, 2015, 2:06 PM HST
* Updated March 9, 2:10 PM
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(L to R) Dr. Colin Lee, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran, Maui Memorial Medical Center CEO Wes Lo, Rep. Kyle Yamashita, and MMMC Regional Board Member Anthony P. Takitani. Photo by Wendy Osher.

(L to R) Dr. Colin Lee, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran, Maui Memorial Medical Center CEO Wes Lo, Rep. Kyle Yamashita, and MMMC Regional Board Member Anthony P. Takitani during the 2011 dedication of the helipad at MMMC. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Hawaiʻi Legislature has until this Thursday, March 12, to vote on all remaining measures that have made it out of their respective committees.

Some items still up for consideration include measures relating to medical marijuana dispensaries, the rail surcharge tax and private-public partnerships for Maui’s public hospitals.

Bills relating to the public-private partnerships in particular for the Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital, and the Lānaʻi Community Hospital include HB1075, HD2; SB311; and SB795.

Late last year, we learned that the state run hospital system requested $150 million in financial assistance from the state legislature, but was appropriated $111.4 million for fiscal year 2014.   The shortfall forced HHSC to begin cost cutting measures and re-evaluate its initiatives on all islands, according to information released during a legislative hearing on Maui.

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As a result, the system implemented layoffs across the islands and cuts in one service area on the island of Maui.  Below are highlights of related proposed legislation:

HB1075, HD2: On Friday, the state House Committee on Finance recommended passage of HB1075 HD2 on third reading. The bill 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.

SB311: The state Senate Committee on Health recommended passage of SB311, and referred an amended version of the bill to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means in February.  The bill would establishes a process to enable the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation to transition to a new healthcare management system organized under the laws of the State as a nonprofit corporation or public benefit corporation.

SB795: A separate measure, SB795, was deferred in February.  That item was more specific to Maui County and would have authorized the Maui Regional Health Care System to enter into an agreement with a private entity to transition one or more of its Maui facilities (the Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital, and the Lānaʻi Community Hospital) into a new private non-profit corporation.

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Last week, the state House advanced more than 100 bills to the state senate for further consideration including items relating to invasive species, tax credits for cesspool upgrades, and matching funds to purchase body cameras for police officers as part of the establishment of a pilot program with the Honolulu Police Department.

Senators are also expected to host a confirmation hearing on the controversial nomination of Carleton Ching as Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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