Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kauai's public hospitals face $3.5 million shortfall

In the last of the HHSC info briefings, the House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees heard from representatives on Kauai on the two public hospitals on the island, Kauai Veterans Memorial and Sam Mahelona, as well as the status of healthcare in the Kauai region. The story from the Kauai Garden Island can be read here.

While Kauai's projected shortfall for fiscal year 2009 is smaller in comparison to other islands, the reasons for the financial difficulties are similar: under-reimbursements from private insurers and government programs, rising costs, treating the uninsured, and bad debt.

The Kauai regional board's position is that cutting services will be the last resort. Even though programs such as long-term in-patient care and the psychiatric unit are money losers, the community would be ill-served by cutting them.

On a positive note, the Kauai regional board as a 4-pt plan to get the region back on track, financially, and it includes a long term strategy to actually expand services, improve facilities and enhance care.

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