Hawaii's public hospitals eye cuts amid shortfall

HONOLULU (AP) - Lawmakers have decided not to privatize Hawaii's public hospitals.

Instead lawmakers have granted the 12-member system $102 million for 2015. That's $48 million less than Hawaii Health Systems Corp. had requested.

Alice Hall, the hospital system's acting president and CEO, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the hospitals will consider cutting services or staff in anticipation of a yawning deficit.

The public hospitals are under increasing strain. The Affordable Care Act is expected to bring in more patients as more people get health insurance. Reimbursements from programs such as Medicare and Medicaid have shrunk. And aging hospital facilities need an estimated $1 billion in capital improvements.

Hall says the hospital system as presently set up is not sustainable. The system will ask for an emergency appropriation for next year.

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