VIDEO: Mauians Voice Support in “Heal Our Hospitals” Campaign
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUZ__708jmk /] By Wendy Osher
The Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation has launched a “Heal Our Hospitals” campaign as state run hospitals on Maui deal with budget shortfalls and administrators push for the support of a public-private partnership.
The campaign includes video messages from island residents and physicians, drafted letters to state lawmakers, and information booths that were set up at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center last week.
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.
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.
As a result, the system implemented layoffs across the islands and cuts in one service area on the island of Maui.
A measure that remains alive in the state legislature is HB1075, HD2, which passed through the Senate Health Committee last week and is being recommended for referral to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor and the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.
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.
Among those who are featured in the video portion of the MMMC Foundation “Heal Our Hospitals” campaign include: Maui resident Yuki Lei Sugimura; Kula Hospital’s Dr. Nicole Apoliona; survivor, Shane Dudoit; and retired Clinical Chief Executive Karen Oura. (The videos can be viewed above).
The campaign is also calling for residents to support of the legislation by signing letters drafted by the foundation. The text of the letters to lawmakers states the following:
“I support a public/private partnership for Maui Memorial Medical Center.
My family and I deserve the highest quality healthcare right here on Maui. Being transported to Oahu for care is unacceptable.
Please consider the needs of your 160,000 Maui County neighbors and Maui’s 2 million annual visitors and support the partnership efforts of Maui Memorial Medical Center.
You have the power to save medical services for our Maui community — you have the power to save lives.”
In information being circulated by the MMMC Foundation, organization leaders say “the transaction would allow a qualified and experienced nonprofit 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.”
The Foundation further states that, “The practices of the past can no longer sustain a healthcare model that provides the quality care our community deserves. Because of increased costs, Federal mandates, physician shortages, and declining hospital reimbursements healthcare as a business has changed. 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.”