Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bill to Save Kahuku Hospital Becomes Law

Rep. Michael Magaoay (District 46 - Kaena Point, Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Haleiwa, Waimea, Pupukea, Sunset, Kahuku, Kunia, Laie) announced that a bill to prevent the financially troubled Kahuku Hospital from closing was signed into law today. Introduced by Rep. Magaoay, the measure represents the second piece of a two-part effort to save the North Shore's only hospital.

House Bill 843 allows the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, an operator of 12 community hospitals for the state, to acquire the private hospital. The bill also provides that the Director of Health will assume a facilitating role during the transition period. With the Governor's signature, the bill became Act 113 this afternoon.

In March, a companion bill was signed into law and became Act 04. Senate Bill 1260 allotted $950,000 in emergency funds to Kahuku Hospital to continue its operations through the end of the legislative session, preserve its hospital license, retain its certificate of need and critical access hospital designation, reorganize, and settle its debts. The two measures are intended to ensure the continuation of emergency medical care, acute care, and preventive health services in rural Oahu.

Kahuku Hospital is the only critical access medical facility between Kane'ohe and Wahiawa, serving over 22,500 people in the Ko'olauloa district. After facing the loss of millions of dollars over the last six years, the 25-bed facility announced in November that it would be forced to close its doors. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February as part of an agreement between the hospital and the state to transfer hospital operations to the state hospital system.

For a complete list of bills signed into law (by bill number) click here.

Photo: Rep. Magaoay, along with Director of Health Chiyome Leinaala Fukino, hospital administrators, and community leaders, spoke with the press in March about legislative efforts to save Kahuku Hospital.

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