Maui Region Hospitals Start Discussion on Job, Service Cuts
By Wendy Osher
Update: 3:30 p.m. 4/27/15
The Maui Region of the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation announced plans to initiate public discussion on what they are calling “imminent service and position cuts.”
The discussion on plans to start the reduction in force process comes after the governor intervened in the legislative process, saying he had come to an “understanding” with House and Senate leaders on Maui health care reform.
The move was made as lawmakers were poised to take a vote on the measure which seeks to set the framework for the establishment of a public-private partnership for Maui‘s hospital.
“The Administration’s recent interest in our legislation brings heightened scrutiny at the eleventh hour and some concern for its movement forward,” said Wesley Lo, Chief Executive Officer of HHSC’s Maui Region in a press release statement. “However, we must remain focused on the need to live within our budgetary restraints. July 1 is upon us and we must start to prepare for what we will be able to provide and the amount of service providers we can employ,” he said.
According to the announcement, the move comes as the HHSC Maui Region faces a $28 million budget gap for the 2016 Fiscal Year. In an announcement last month, board members at the Maui hospital approved of cuts if necessary including, “non-clinical and non-essential contracts that the hospital maintains, as well as 50 to 75 non-clinical administrative positions.”
The Maui Region announcement further states that the process comes on the heels of announcements made by the hospitals’ unionized nurses who have been given a 4% increase as negotiated by the State and the Hawai‘i Government Employees Association. “We hoped with our reduced budget, we would have been consulted on these funding mandates that we will be unable to fund,” said Lo.
During the governor’s announcement, questions surfaced relating to protection against layoffs, union opposition and if there were any parts of the bill that could have prompted the intervention.
Lo invited the administration to attend an upcoming briefing, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Pu‘u Kukui Elementary School in Wailuku.
“We need the community to be present, they need to understand the severity of these service cuts and how this budget shortfall will impact every person that lives and visits Maui,” said Lo.
Meantime, the House and Senate have since announced that they will begin Conference Committee meetings on HB1075 at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. Three Maui lawmakers are included on the panel of conferees including: Rep. Kyle Yamashita, Sen. Roz Baker, and Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran.
The Maui Region of the HHSC serves more than 11,000 inpatients and sees over 45,000 people in the emergency room each year.
There are currently 1,500 individuals employed at Maui Memorial Medical Center, which is the only full-service, acute-care medical facility in the county.