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Layoffs announced for Hilo Medical Center, Hale Ho‘ola Hamakua and Ka‘u Hospital


Hilo Medical Center. Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

Hilo Medical Center. Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

Hilo, Hawaii (May 19 , 2015) – Nearly 90 employees will be laid off and some services will be cut at Hilo Medical Center, Ka‘u Hospital and Hale Ho‘ola Hamakua because of a projected $7 million deficit in the fiscal year starting July 1. The hospitals comprise the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, the state funded hospital system which is facing a $50 million shortfall overall for fiscal 2016.

Planned closures include Home Care Services, which provides homebound individuals both chronic and transitional nursing care, and one wing of adult inpatient psychiatric care at Hilo Medical Center. Service cutbacks will reduce the number of long term care beds available at Hilo Medical Center, Ka‘u Hospital and Hale Ho‘ola Hamakua. Additional cuts will be necessary in many departments and in total 87 people, or approximately 7% of the total workforce, will lose their jobs as a result of these planned closures and cutbacks.

The region’s estimated shortfall is the result of higher costs and lower reimbursement rates incurred while servicing a fast-growing population of more than 100,000 people who live in a vast and mostly rural 2,000-square mile area. The hospitals are the safety net for many in the community who are uninsured and have no other healthcare options. Approximately 75% of the East Hawaii Region’s reimbursements come from Medicare and Medicaid/Quest and they do not cover the cost of care.

“Our budget shortfall will have considerable impact on healthcare facilities in East Hawaii. Region-wide cost cutting measures have already been implemented and service cutbacks and layoffs are the only remaining option for our financial viability,” said Gary Yoshiyama, East Hawaii Regional Board Chair. “Many scenarios were carefully weighed in our preparations to maintain essential healthcare services and minimize any potential harm to patients.”

“Some healthcare services for our communities will be reduced and disrupted as a result of the planned closures, cutbacks and staff layoffs,” said Dan Brinkman, Interim East Hawaii Regional CEO. “As a result of operational efficiencies and cost reductions we’ve already instituted, we are able to complete our current fiscal year intact, but those actions are not enough to make up for the coming year’s shortfall. While the vast majority of our workers will keep their jobs, it saddens us that very capable people who help care for our community will lose their jobs. We know our employees and physicians will continue to deliver the high quality patient centered care our community has come to expect.”

The HHSC East Hawaii Region is comprised of the Hilo Medical Center, Hale Ho‘ola Hamakua, Ka‘u Hospital and Rural Health Clinic and the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. In 2014, the East Hawaii Region experienced 49,000 emergency room visits, 39,000 clinic visits, 9,000 admissions and over 1,100 births. The East Hawaii Region operates on a budget of $160 million and, with a current payroll of over $100 million; it is Hawaii Island’s second largest employer.

One Response to “Layoffs announced for Hilo Medical Center, Hale Ho‘ola Hamakua and Ka‘u Hospital”

  1. Kia says:

    when people, communities, states, countries live far beyond what they earn, something breaks … money changes hands till someone learns how to invest wisely … as for now, idiots are still in charge and citizens are parasites , wanting more than their share


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