HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's plenty of hope for the closed Hawaii Medical Center facilities in Ewa and Liliha. Various healthcare professionals told lawmakers they have big plans to revive the medical services.
Since the two Hawaii Medical Center hospitals closed more than a month ago it's taking ambulances about three minutes longer to deliver patients to hospitals. The State Department of Health says no one has lost their life from the added time. Still it is putting a strain on paramedics and not having the Ewa hospital is a concern.
"We see a need to provide some kind of a community hospital in that area. It's a growing area and we are very interested and we feel we could do an excellent job," said Dr. Virginia Pressler, Hawaii Pacific Health Executive Vice President.
Hawaii Pacific Health, which includes Kapiolani, Pali Momi, Straub and Wilcox, would like to add a fifth hospital to its network.
"We're waiting for the opportunity to have those discussions," said Dr. Pressler. "If we were given the opportunity we're very interested in acquiring the hospital out at the former Hawaii Medical Center West."
Lawmakers were also briefed on the possibility of turning the Liliha hospital into a long term care facility.
"We have entered into some very preliminary discussions with the sisters at St. Francis and we are finding our missions are well aligned. I think there are opportunities there to work together and try to meet the states needs. I'm optimistic at least we can make something happen if we can get the legislature and others to support this," said Bruce Anderson, Ph.D. Hawaii Health Systems Corporation President and CEO.
The state has a long wait list to get into long term care. Right now many patients are taking up hospital bed space when they really need long term care resulting in about $180 million in lost revenue a year.
"The system would be a healthier system if the wait list problem were addressed, no question," said George Greene, Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO.
"If we were to be repurposing the St. Francis facility for long term care we could effectively double the number of long term care beds," said Dr. Anderson.
The problem is long term care isn't a money maker. Facilities don't get reimbursed the full amount which is why Anderson says state help is needed to make it work. But first the bankruptcy proceedings with Hawaii Medical Center need to be put to bed before serious talks can start.
There will be another town hall meeting held on Thursday, February 9.
Hawaii Medical Center Town Hall Meeting
Hosted by Rep. Kimberly Pine
Kapolei Middle School Dining Room
For more information: call 586-9730 or email email@example.com.