Supporters turned out in force at the state Capitol Wednesday to ask lawmakers to approve of a resolution requesting the governor and the Legislature to provide emergency financial assistance to Wahiawa General Hospital.
Wahiawa General, according to the hospital, was established more than 70 years ago as an independent nonprofit. About 85 percent of its patients depend on Medicare and Medicaid, but the government insurance payments “do not cover the cost of caring for these patients” and the hospital has suffered in recent years.
“As a stand-alone, Wahiawa is facing financial and operational problems that create an extreme danger of closure within six to nine months without financial assistance from the Legislature and governor’s office,” said CEO Don Olden said in testimony.
“Wahiawa General Hospital serves as a safety net for the community. Without our services, the people of the communities will suffer,” added Susan Rich, a registered nurse administrator.
The resolution explains that, with the reopening of Queen’s Medical Center West in the area in May 2014, the Wahiawa General has suffered a 14 percent reduction in patient revenues leading to a $7.5 million drop in revenue. The hospital has been forced to cut programs and staff to survive.
Among those turning out for the resolution’s hearing was Eva Gallegos, an RN at Queen’s. She said if Wahiawa General closes, “It’s going to make it tougher on the other hospitals since they are already putting patients in hallways and small closet size rooms due to the overcrowding in the ER.”
HCR 118 now heads to House Finance for consideration.
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