Hawaii hospital fires 3 top managers in leadership restructure

The Hawaii State Hospital, a publicly funded, state psychiatric hospital in Kaneohe, is firing three top-level managers as part of a leadership restructure amid patient overcrowding and workforce shortages, local media outlets reported over the weekend.

On Aug. 17, Associate Administrator Bimmie Strausser, MD, Director of Nursing Lani Tsuneishi, MSN, and Operations Administrator Anthony Fraiola were fired and escorted off the property, staff at the facility said, according to Honolulu Civil Beat.

Kenneth Luke, the hospital's acting administrator, on the same day announced to staff that the three senior managers were no longer with the hospital and that the hospital is restructuring its senior leadership team.

"Other leaders will be asked to take on new roles to help our organization to move forward," Mr. Luke said, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Honolulu Civil Beat.

According to both publications, Mr. Luke's announcement to staff did not provide a reason for the move. However, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that he did note the hospital "is being challenged with maintaining quality care in a safe and therapeutic environment, while having to manage an ever-increasing demand for our services." 

Mr. Luke added, "I am confident that, by functioning as one team, we can meet this challenge."

Shawn Hamamoto, spokesperson for the Hawaii State Department of Health, told Becker's, "We are unable to comment as this is a personnel matter."

Ms. Tsuneishi, who has worked at the Hawaii State Hospital for more than three decades, told Honolulu Civil Beat she is shocked by her termination and that she has never had job performance issues.

The hospital has long struggled to recruit and retain enough workers, and she suspects the firings are related to issues such as overtime costs and staffing, Ms. Tsuneishi said, according to the publication.

Dr. Strausser and Mr. Fraiola did not respond to Honolulu Civil Beat's requests for comment.

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