Senate Committees OK $7.3M for Kauai Hospitals

By Zoellick, Sarah | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, November 2, 2013 | Go to article overview

Senate Committees OK $7.3M for Kauai Hospitals


Zoellick, Sarah, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


The state Senate Health and Ways and Means committees Friday approved $7.3 million in emergency funding to sustain two rural Kauai hospitals through next spring.

House lawmakers passed House Bill 3 earlier in the week, increasing the appropriation to $7.3 million from $2.5 million after Hawaii Health Systems Corp. officials testified that more money is needed for services on Kauai.

The bill, unamended by senators, now goes before the full Senate for final approval. The appropriation is one of a handful of issues being taken up by lawmakers during a special legislative session called by the governor over gay marriage.

Alice Hall, acting president and chief executive officer of the system, told lawmakers in a hearing on the Kauai bill Friday that the money would help pay back a $2 million loan from the Maui region and more than $2 million in systemwide obligations owed to the corporate office.

"All of the hospitals are having financial problems, but this happens to be hitting Kauai the most at this point," Hall said. "We don't have the cash on hand; we have less than a month's cash on hand at any one time, whereas most hospitals have six months' cash on hand across the nation."

The funds will also help reduce accounts payable to 30 days from more than 110 days, according to testimony from the Kauai regional board of directors. David Peters, chairman of the board, called the appropriation a blessing and said the board wasn't sure what it would have done without it.

"Vendors, our payables, would go even higher than where they are now, and people wouldn't be being paid," he said. "If we tried to cut services out, we'd have to go out to the community and have meetings and hearings to be able to do that, so I really don't know what would have happened."

The system's Kauai region operates Samuel Mahe­lona Memorial Hospital, which houses the only inpatient psychiatric unit on the island; Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital; and three physician clinics in Wai­mea, Kala­heo and Port Allen.

The two hospitals in need of emergency funding are Mahe­lona and Kauai Veterans Memorial. …

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Senate Committees OK $7.3M for Kauai Hospitals
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