Hospitals Struggle With High Costs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hospitals Struggle With High Costs

Rich Meires says, "What's happening is the various governments are not paying for the cost of care." Rich Meires says, "What's happening is the various governments are not paying for the cost of care."
Danelo Canete says, "We're going to be careful about costs and be more motivated because we own it." Danelo Canete says, "We're going to be careful about costs and be more motivated because we own it."
St. Francis Medical Center will soon become the largest doctor-owned hospital in the country. St. Francis Medical Center will soon become the largest doctor-owned hospital in the country.
The future owner plans to improve quality to help cut costs. The future owner plans to improve quality to help cut costs.

by: Kristine Uyeno

(KHNL) - It's news that's still surprising and upsetting people on Oahu's North Shore.

Next month, Kahuku Hospital will close.

Some experts say more bad news could be in store for other hospitals.

"What's happening is the various governments are not paying for the cost of care. For years, we've been getting reimbursed for Medicaid patients about 37 cents for every dollars," said Rich Meiers with the Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

He says that's not enough. He says low reimbursements are affecting all hospitals. But smaller ones, like Kahuku don't have as much capital, so they run into trouble quicker.

St. Francis Hospital ran into its own problems.

"First there were hit by the nurses strike in 2003 and I think from then on everything went downhill," said Danelo Canete, president of Hawaii Medical Center, new owner and name of St. Francis.

It will officially change hands in January and become the largest doctor-owned hospital in the country. The future owner plans to improve quality to help cut costs.

"If you do the job well, complications will be less, so patients aren't going to stay that long and you cut your cost," said Canete. "We're going to be careful about costs and be more motivated because we own it."

Hospital owners and lobbyists will work with Hawaii lawmakers to get the government to provide more money for health care.

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