VIDEO: Historic Agreement Approved for Management of Maui Region Hospitals

January 14, 2016, 2:17 PM HST · Updated January 14, 2:19 PM
Wendy Osher · 1 Comment
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Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa (lt) with Governor David Ige (middle) and Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui (rt). Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) Photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa (lt) with Governor David Ige (middle) and Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui (rt). Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) File photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

Governor David Ige today signed a transfer agreement for the operations and management of the Maui Region Hospitals that effectively transfers responsibility from the state to Kaiser Permanente.

Prior to signing the transfer, Gov. Ige said it has always been a “high priority” to ensure a seamless transition, especially for those employees and most importantly, the residents of Maui County, who count on these facilities for quality health services today and into the future.”

He continued saying, “This agreement maintains local access to affordable quality health services and ensures that the interests of all Hawaiʻi residents are considered as we move forward.” Gov. Ige, who noted that the signing is the “next step in a series of steps that will be required to complete the transaction.”

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“We will begin negotiating with the new company to work out the lease for the real property and facilities,” said Gov. Ige, noting that the transfer of the lease is expected to close on June 30.  The new company is slated to begin operations on July 1, 2016.

Maui Region Board chair Avery Chumbley. Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) Photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

Maui Region Board chair Avery Chumbley. Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) File photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

Mary Ann Barnes, RN, President, Hawai‘i Region, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan also commented in a live stream of the signing event saying, “Clearly, health care is provided by people–people who are committed, who are caring and compassionate.”

Barnes took the opportunity to thank all of the staff, physicians and community physicians who work at the three Maui Regional hospitals for their “dedication to excellence in care, for the care that they provided for all of these years.”  She said, “I’m looking forward, and I know our team is looking forward to learning from them and understanding what’s important to them as well as to the people that they take care of.”

Barnes said Kaiser Permanente “is very excited about this opportunity and really feels that its an honor that we have been selected, and to move forward in partnering with the community of Maui, with the staff, and certainly with the state and the Maui Regional Board to work together and create a model for health care that this historic day prides going forward.”

Barnes shared Kaiser’s commitment and vision around care for people of Maui and Lānaʻi saying, “The patient and the family is number one.  Providing care (and) setting up care delivery and people who can provide that is really of compassion and high quality.  Supporting the patients and the people of Maui and the staff with evidence based practices and state-of-the art systems that can really support that excellent delivery of care.”

Maui Memorial Medical Center's Wesley Lo. Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) Photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

Maui Memorial Medical Center’s Wesley Lo. Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) File photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

“I would also say our commitment is that the Maui Regional hospitals will be community hospitals, they will remain community hospitals.  They will be open to all care types with comparable rates; (and) open to all medical staff that want to practice at that hospital. So this will remain as a community hospital, and we have a commitment to that for the life of the agreement.”

Barnes also said that “people are the heart of healthcare.” She continued saying, “Our vision and commitment is to really engage and empower the people who are working in those hospitals today as well as supporting the community physicians as well.  And I heard loud and clear–look toward education, training programs–because we want to keep care on Maui, and in order to achieve that we will work with the clinicians in the community, and work with the staff of the University, and all of those areas to make sure that the quality, the capacity, and the high level of skill is available for people on Maui to provide their care–not only to the people who live on Maui, but we have a large visitor population as well.”

Finally, Barnes said “We’re really committed to making the investments in the hospitals and the facilities and really looking toward financial sustainability, and giving back any profits and margins to the Maui hospitals.  We would continue that commitment that what is on Maui stays on Maui.

Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) Photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) File photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

In addressing those in attendance today, Gov. Ige said public hospitals play a vital role in our communities – especially in our rural communities and on our neighbor islands.  “I have personally been involved with the challenges of providing quality health care to the people of Maui County for virtually a decade, working with legislators who represent the area in my capacity as chair of the Health Committee for a number of years and then working as chair of Ways and Means.”

He said he has seen the challenges of what is the best way for the state of Hawaiʻi to deliver quality health care services to rural communities.  “For the last decade especially we have seen the escalating subsidy required as the entire health care system has undergone transformation–much of that driven by changes to federal regulators, and really driven by many challenges outside the control of what’s here in the state of Hawaiʻi,” said Gov. Ige.

Governor David Ige (lt) and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa (rt). Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) Photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

Governor David Ige (lt) and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa (rt). Bill signing ceremony at Maui Memorial Medical Center. (06.10.15) File photo credit: Ryan Piros/County of Maui.

“I just wanted to acknowledge the Legislature for giving us this opportunity to insert vigorous competition into the process of competing to provide health care at home.  This process has truly resulted in better opportunities and better services for the people of Maui in that Maui Regional System,” said Gov. Ige.

“I wanted to close my remarks by thanking the legislature for their trust and belief that working together we could deliver a better bill, and most importantly a better outcome, in determining the future of health services for Maui County.”

Also in attendance at today’s event was Avery Chumbley, Chair, Maui Region of the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation and Dr. Linda Rosen, CEO, Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation.

Maui’s State Senators were in agreement that today’s signed partnership between the State and Kaiser Permanente “is a positive collaboration that will benefit the residents and visitors to the island of Maui.”

Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English who represents East and Upcountry Maui, Lāna‘i, and Moloka‘i released a statement saying, “Establishing this partnership will make certain that residents continue to receive the quality health care they deserve and that health service providers will be retained.  It’s  reassuring that the agreement recognizes the special roles Lāna‘i Community Hospital and Kula Hospital have in their communities and I hope to see improved health care services for these areas as well.”

Fellow Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran of Central Maui also commented saying, “This marks another milestone in our community’s journey to a stronger health care system.  I applaud Governor Ige, Avery Chumbley, and our local health care providers for working together to ensure our residents will receive the best care possible.”

Sen. Rosalyn Baker who represents South and West Maui and also chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health released a statement saying, “I’m relieved that this long, arduous struggle to ensure all those who call Maui home have access to quality health care, has finally been resolved.  This model can be a template for future state-owned medical facilities and I’m encouraged by Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to retain service provider positions and services for our community.”

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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