HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Administrators are closing one wing of the Hilo Medical Center's behavior health facility, leaving even fewer options for mental health services on Hawaii Island.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1BzV4Cw ) that the East Hawaii Region of the state's public health care network is wrestling with a $7 million budget shortfall and announced last week that it will lay off 87 employees and cut services at some hospitals, including HMC.
Hawaii Health Systems Corp. East Hawaii Region Interim CEO Dan Brinkman said in letter Wednesday that the eight-bed wing is rarely used and the system can no longer afford the extra beds.
University of Hawaii at Hilo psychopharmacology expert Judi Steinman says the island already has fewer psychiatrists than it needs and that cutting mental health services could hurt the most vulnerable residents.
Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/