LAHAINA - On Monday, June 9, West Maui residents packed Lahaina Civic Center to learn about the status of the West Maui Hospital & Medical Center. Many had the same question on their mind: give us a date!
The meeting was conducted by the hospital developer, Brian Hoyle, president of Newport Hospital Corp., who was backed up by Charlie Slaton, CEO of Critical Access Healthcare LLC.
Hoyle is the driving force behind getting the hospital up and running, securing the financing and land. Slaton will be in charge of actually running the hospital and staffing it.
The Napili Kai Foundation marched in Saturday’s 2014 Na Kamehameha Commemorative Pa‘u Parade. PHOTO BY CHRIS TURNER/RIMFIRE PHOTOGRAPHY.
The West Maui Hospital will be located on Kakaalaneo Road near Kaanapali Coffee Farms. The entire project is expected to cost $60 million.
In addition to the physicians, the hospital plans to employ about 125 people.
Hoyle expects to break ground in the summer of 2015 and to open the doors in the summer of 2016.
What kind of hospital will it be? The West Maui Hospital will be a small community hospital designated by the federal government as a rural critical access hospital, which means it will be limited to 25 beds and receive maximum Medicare reimbusements per federal guidelines. The facility will also include a skilled nursing facility and assisted living facility. Sometime in the future, a "medical arts" building may be built (there will be space for it).
The hospital will have three operating rooms (two initially) and be open 24/7 for emergency care. The hospital will also have a 24-hour pharmacy.
What services will the hospital provide? Emergency room stabilization in case of accidents; typical surgeries, such as knee and hip replacements, broken bones and appendectomies; baby deliveries; test procedures, including colonoscopies and endoscopies; and all other routine medical tests.
In general, the West Maui Hospital will provide all of the types of services now provided by Aloha Surgical Center in Kahului and many now provided by Maui Memorial Medical Center with one important exception: there will be no cardiac surgery at the new hospital.
Emergency medical technicians on the West Side will have more than one choice concerning where to bring ambulance patients as they evaluate the severity and nature of the condition of each patient. They are required to follow a specific protocol, but in most cases, it will be the closest hospital, which will be the West Maui Hospital.
Many residents voiced concerns about staffing the hospital. Hoyle said that when the West Maui Hospital becomes a reality, many doctors and nurses will want to live and work on the West Side. In fact, he found out that there are many doctors, currently "retired," now living on the West Side who have already shown interest in working at the hospital.
Hoyle and Slaton have worked together in the past specifically on creating critical access hospitals and all that entails. Slaton recently has been involved in starting up and operating a critical access hospital in Texas. He will be modeling the West Maui Hospital on his experiences there, including using the same architect and essentially the same design.
Slaton also outlined several avenues he is using to recruit staff, including contacting the University of Hawaii Nursing School as well as his medical contacts throughout the Hawaiian Islands and, if necessary, the Mainland. He fully expects staffing to run smoothly.
Hoyle explained that the criteria and staffing models will be much different than Maui Memorial. As a small, community-based hospital, staffing requirements will be tailored to that size facility, including on-call physicians.
Right now, Hoyle is in the process of purchasing the land and is going through the entitlement process with both the state and county.
He has also created a new nonprofit entity called the West Maui Hospital Foundation. The board of directors includes himself; Jo Anne Johnson Winer, county transportation director; Howard Hanzawa, retired vice president of Kaanapali Land Management Corp.; and Dr. Alfred Arensdorf, a child and adolescent psychiatrist.