Hospitals Collaborate to Meet Needs

Waimea, December 8, 2010: In a historic meeting, the CEO’s of all three island hospitals, along with key board members from each institution, met in Waimea to discuss ways to improve access to care for island residents. This is believed to be the first time in history all three institutions have come together to discuss improving care for the island.

“Because of the physician shortage on the Big Island, too many of our residents are flying to Oahu for routine care,” stated Howard Ainsley, CEO of Hilo Medical Center. Kathryn Harter, Interim CEO of Kona Community Hospital added “Not only is it hard on a patient when they need to leave the island, there is usually a big impact on their family.”

This meeting will be the first of a series of meetings for the newly formed Big Island Health Care Collaborative. One of the group’s top priorities is to focus on keeping residents on the island for the vast majority of their health care needs. “While some very specialized care will require leaving the island, we are convinced that by working together, we can provide almost all medical services Big Island residents need in one of our local hospitals,” stated Ken Wood, CEO of North Hawaii Community Hospital.

The group will specifically be focusing on recruiting and retaining key physicians including primary care physicians, urologists, neurologists, ENTs, and nephrologists. In addition to recruiting physicians, the group will explore how to build and support special programs that may serve the island from a single location.

The photo below commemorates the launch of the Big Island Health Collaborative.

Launch of the Big Island Health Collaborative

Pictured left to right are: Bill Hastings, NHCH Board Member; Leonard Tanaka, EHRB Member; Howard Ainsley, EH Regional CEO; Brenda Ho, EHRB Vice-Chair; Ken Wood, NHCH President & CEO; Kathryn Harter, KCH Interim CEO; Dr. Sharon Vitousek, NHCH Board Member; Dr. Alistair Bairos, KCH Board Chair; Carolyn Quick, NHCH Board Member; Bill Cliff, KCH Board Vice-Chair; Dr. Robert Irvine, EHRB Chair.

For more information contact:
Howard Ainsley, CEO, HMC 974-4743
Kathryn Harter, Acting CEO, KCH 322-4430
Ken Wood, CEO, NHCH 881-4400