Tsutsui “Concerned” Over Hospital Partner Selection

September 23, 2015, 4:56 PM HST · Updated September 23, 4:56 PM
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Shan Tsutsui, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui today raised concerns over the selection of Kaiser Permanente by the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation’s Maui Regional System Board as its choice to operate its facilities under a planned partnership.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Tsutsui said the selection, ” raises many questions and causes me to be concerned, not only with the process for the selection, but also the actions to be taken going forward in negotiating an agreement.”

Lt. Governor Tsutsui said that while Hawaiʻi Pacific Health had been working with stakeholders for months and, “expressed interest in ensuring that the needs of the Maui Regional System and the community it serves would be met,” he said Kaiser Permanente, “only more recently expressed interest in servicing the community. It remains to be seen whether Kaiser possesses the same level of commitment to the well-being of the residents of Maui County.”

In his response, Lt. Governor Tsutsui expressed a greater need for transparency and encouraged the public to voice concerns.  “I believe more questions should be raised concerning how health care will be provided for those not within the network and the type of services that will be provided,” said Tsutsui.

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“Furthermore, in the event that the community’s concerns and questions are not adequately addressed, I believe that we should not rush to complete a deal that does not adequately benefit the people of Maui County.” Instead, he said, “I believe it is incumbent upon the Governor to keep the people’s best interest in mind and consider halting negotiations, if necessary, and commit to providing the emergency funds needed for the State to keep the hospitals running until a proper deal can be negotiated.”

Meantime, Maui’s senatorial delegation expressed optimism in the selection and the future of healthcare in Maui County.

Senate Majority Leader, Senator J. Kalani English who represents East and Upcountry Maui, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i said, “We’re pleased that the process is moving forward.  We hope this partnership will preserve a strong health care system for the residents of Maui.”

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Senator Rosalyn Baker who represents South and West Maui, and also serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health, said she believes the decision will be supported by the residents of Maui.  “We know the best health care is care that is closest to home. The community wanted to keep Maui Memorial viable, they wanted to keep quality health care in the community and this is the first step to ensure that we have a long-term sustainable plan for providing quality health care on Maui,” said Sen. Baker.

Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran who represents Central Maui, and is Chair of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee said, “Maui has now reached a crucial milestone and I’m looking forward to seeing the details of a final deal that keeps the health care needs of our community foremost in mind as the Governor, the regional board and Kaiser Permanente begin negotiations.  We’re hopeful that with this partnership, quality health care will be available to all residents on Maui.”

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa also expressed confidence that the selection was made “in the best interests of everyone in Maui County.”

“Their main goal is to get our primary medical care facility on stable financial footing so that Maui Memorial may better serve this community. That’s why we all fought so hard to push this private-public partnership through at the state legislature. Kaiser has been a good health care provider here on Maui and I am certain they will do a fine job managing our hospital,” said Mayor Arakawa.

***For the story on the board selection announcement visit the following link: BREAKING: Board Selects Kaiser as Maui Hospital Partner

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