Health Center says its unable to fill the gap in care for obstetrics needs on Maui
April 14, 2023, 8:49 AM HST
Limited choices for obstetrics options on Maui has caused concern among those who continue to care for pregnant women on the island.
The Mālama I Ke Ola Health Center and Kaiser are two options left after a private practice announced its plans to stop service.
Mālama I ke Ola reports it has advocated for support from the legislature and has worked to expand care over the last month, but says it is unable to be the complete solution for the gap in care, which comes as the state is also navigating a physician shortage.
Mālama I Ke Ola Health Center’s mission of 30 years has been to serve the uninsured and publicly insured (Medicaid) on Maui. Chief Executive Officer John Vaz, MD MSHA said, “We recognize that the recent operational decision by a for-profit, private practice, to close its obstetric services leaves patients that were previously served by them, without a medical home.”
According to Vaz, the center has taken a significant number of new patients while continuing to care for existing ones.
“We balanced expanding our services to provide access to care without compromising high-quality, safe care to all of our patients. Despite these efforts, and due to current capacity,” Vaz said the facility is unable to completely fill the void.
According to Vaz, insurance plans are working to develop expanded access points for obstetric care. “The solutions being worked on range from partnerships with Oʻahu providers coming to Maui to possible agreements with Kaiser to allow non-Kaiser patients to see Kaiser providers,” he said.
As different insurance plans work on developing solutions, the center is recommending that individuals contact their specific plans for the most up-to-date solutions.