Court puts Maui hospital privatization on pause

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals put a temporary stop on the privatization of three Hawaii hospitals: Wailuku-based Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula (Hawaii) Hospital & Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital in Lanai City. 

At issue in the case are the rights of United Public Workers, a union that represents some of the Maui hospital employees. 

In 2015, the state ruled to end service delivery by Hawaii Health Systems Corp. at the three hospitals and transfer them to a private operator. The health system board signed over the three hospitals in January to Maui Health Systems, a division of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente. 

The union sued the governor of Hawaii over the transition. A U.S. District Court Judge ruled in favor of the state in February, but the union appealed the decision. 

"At oral arguments before the 9th Circuit in April, certain judges expressed concern about the impact of the transition on the affected UPW employees. The administration and legislature have put together multiple solutions to address these concerns. We will comply with the 9th Circuit's order and report our progress to them," Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement. 

The court order lasts until the end of September, according to the state attorney's general's office. 


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