The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the state to hold off on its plans to privatize three public hospitals on Maui until Sept. 30 unless a judge terminates the injunction sooner.

“At oral arguments before the 9th Circuit in April, certain judges expressed concern about the impact of the transition on the affected UPW employees,” Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement Tuesday.

“The administration and legislature have put together multiple solutions to address these concerns,” he said. “We will comply with the 9th Circuit’s order and report our progress to them.”

Attorney General Doug Chin, left, discusses funding for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands as Gov. David Ige listens, April 4, 2016.
Attorney General Doug Chin, left, and Gov. David Ige appear at a press conference in April. Chin said Tuesday that the administration will comply with a court order temporarily halting the privatization of three Maui hospitals. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

The Legislature passed a law in 2015 that transferred the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation’s delivery of health care services at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital & Clinic, and Lanai Community Hospital to a private operator.

In January, HHSC board members agreed to transition services to a new Kaiser entity called Maui Health Systems, according to the Attorney General’s office.

United Public Workers, representing some of the Maui hospital employees, sued Gov. David Ige to stop the transition. In February, U.S. District Court Judge Helen Gillmor ruled in favor of the state, but UPW appealed to the federal 9th Circuit Court.

“Today’s order does not rule on the appeal,” the AG’s office said in a release.

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