Delay of Kaiser Permanente takeover causes Maui hospital to close services, beds

The board of directors for Hawaii Health Systems Corp.'s Maui Region decided Wednesday to implement a phased closure plan for the system's three hospitals due to its inability to operate without a public-private partnership, according to Maui Now.

The Maui Region of HHSC includes Wailuku-based Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula (Hawaii) Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital in Lanai City.

State government passed a law in 2015 to end HHSC operations at the three Maui Region hospitals and transfer the delivery of healthcare services to a private hospital operator — which was later determined to be Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente. United Public Workers sued to stop the transition, which halted activities while the case was decided in court. UPW and the state created a settlement agreement in August, so an appeals court judge determined the case moot, according to previous coverage by Maui Now.

However, now UPW and the state have reached another impasse in negotiations and Kaiser Permanente deferred the transition date to July 1, 2017, according to Maui Now.

The Maui Region Board of Directors provided Maui Now with a statement that reads, "The delay in transitioning Maui Region to Kaiser Permanente has led to a high volume of staff vacancies, increased use of travelers and temporary workers, and an inability to attract staff and physicians. This first phase of closures will be the first step in addressing a dire situation to protect and preserve our patients and staff."

The first phase includes closure of eight intensive care beds, 12 medical/surgical beds and an additional 30 beds in other units, according to the statement. Bed closures will impact critical services including stroke, heart, neurosurgery, orthopedics and trauma. Those patients will be transported to Oahu, according to the statement. The second phase could include service closures, according to the report.


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