In Health, Maui Division, Negotiations

PACIFIC BUSINESS NEWS; LORNI ELENI GILL; SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

The Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s Maui Regional System Board announced Wednesday that it has selected Kaiser Permanente to enter negotiations with the state and the Maui board to manage the three state-owned hospitals in Maui County.

Negotiations will begin shortly.

Hawaii Pacific Health had originally expressed interest in a public-private partnership in January, and announced intent to do due diligence and lobby for legislative approval.

The state hospital system’s Maui Region includes Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital on Maui and Lanai Community Hospital.

Gov. David Ige authorized the state hospitals to enter an agreement with a private entity in June.

Maui Region Board Chair Avery Chumbley told PBN the deliberation process took over eight hours on Tuesday.

“We felt that the Kaiser proposal provided us with vision and strategy that would improve health services in the Maui region,” he said. “We’re looking for the development of the the continuum for delivery of services, not just someone to run the hospital. The vision was much greater than that.”

Kaiser Permanente made its interest in Maui official in May. It had initially said it was not interested in pursuing such a path because it was under different circumstances, and there was no legislation that authorized it, KP Hawaii President Mary Ann Barnes told PBN in a recent interview.

The health maintenance organization currently serves more than 243,000 people in Hawaii, including over 55,000 on Maui. Hawaii labor unions expressed concern about Kaiser being a monopoly on the Valley Isle.

“This will be an open community hospital, Chumbley said. “We as the regional board realize this as Maui Memorial Hospital supported by Kaiser, not a Kaiser Maui Memorial Hospital. It’s going to be open to all payers — Hawaii Medical Service Association, UHA, UnitedHealthcare, AlohaCare — anyone will be able to continue to go to this community hospital for care, even for uncompensated care.”

PBN has reached out to both Kaiser and HPH for comment.

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