9th Circuit Court Clarifies Order on Maui Hospitals

June 2, 2016, 3:16 PM HST · Updated June 2, 3:23 PM
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Maui Memorial Medical Center. File image.

Maui Memorial Medical Center. File image.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order today responding to an emergency motion on May 20, 2016 by Attorney General Doug Chin on behalf of Governor David Ige asking the Court to modify an order it issued on May 17, 2016.

The Ninth Circuit had temporarily stopped activities related to transitioning service delivery at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital & Clinic, and Lānaʻi Community Hospital from the State to a new Kaiser entity.

Noting that the emergency motion was unopposed, the Ninth Circuit said:

(1) Nothing in the Injunction shall be construed to prohibit: (a) Taking any steps to provide that the Maui Region has adequate physician coverage necessary to insure patient safety; (b) Responding to any requests for clarification or additional information from any federal government agency regarding HHSC’s pending applications regarding “change of ownership” from the State to Kaiser. (2) The date for the filing of the parties’ Joint Status Report is advanced from June 30, to June 15, 2016. (3) Except as otherwise expressly set forth in this order, the terms of the Injunction shall remain in effect, as set forth in the court’s Order of May 17, 2016. Further review and consideration of the Governor’s emergency motion are deferred pending the filing of the parties’ Joint Status Report.

Attorney General Chin issued a statement saying, “Governor Ige’s top priority is protecting patients in the Maui hospitals. We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit clarified that nothing in its May 17th order prevents us from taking steps to provide adequate physician coverage and ensure patient safety. We will keep working with the hospitals, unions, Kaiser and other stakeholders to protect patient safety.”

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Background:

In 2015, the state legislature passed a law ending the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation’s delivery of health care services at the three Maui facilities and transferring service delivery to a private operator. On

Jan. 14, 2016, the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation board and its regional board signed an agreement to transition to a new Kaiser entity, Maui Health Systems.

United Public Workers, representing some of the Maui hospital employees, sued to stop the transition from taking place in the case of United Public Workers v. Ige.

On Feb. 19, 2016, US District Court Judge Helen Gillmor ruled in favor of the State, and UPW appealed to the federal Ninth Circuit Court.

On May 17, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court ordered the State to temporarily stop all activities related to the transition until September 30, 2016, unless sooner terminated by the Court, and for the parties to submit a joint status report.

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