Big Island hospital now part of Queen's takes steps to boost stability, finances

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KAMUELA, Hawaii — A Big Island hospital that was taken over by The Queen's Health Systems last year has been adding equipment, rebuilding its management team and recruiting new doctors.

The steps are designed to bring stability to North Hawaii Community Hospital and improve its finances, West Hawaii Today (http://bit.ly/1CIvccC ) reported. The Waimea hospital had been losing $4 million annually and suffering high turnover.

"We're trying to get past the turnover, bring permanence and work to provide the services everyone cares about," hospital President Ken Graham said.

Ten of the 13-member management team are new hires, and the remainder have been recently promoted from within the hospital, Graham said. New positions of chief medical officer and director of ambulance services have been created.

Administrators are increasing offerings in cancer, heart and urology treatment. They hope this will help them retain patients that would have otherwise gone off-island for care.

"The Queen's organization plans to be here a long time," he said. "This is a big change for Queen's. This isn't 'get yourself to Queen's' anymore. Queen's is getting out into the neighborhoods."

The hospital recently added three new ultrasound machines that offer sharper 3-D imaging. A new medical records system to be completed in June 2016 will also enable a streamlined exchange of files with Oahu, Graham said. Patients will be able to access their records via cellphones, and the paper charts that currently go off island with transported patients will be a thing of the past, said Krista Anderson, the hospital's director of communications.

Last September, the hospital had openings for 13 doctors of cardiology, surgery, oncology, obstetrics and other disciplines. Since then, the recruitment of doctors, most of who must be sought on the mainland and relocated here, has been less than swift, administrators acknowledge.

"Hiring is never as fast as you want. It's a process," Graham said.

Queen's is a nonprofit health care provider headquartered in Honolulu that was founded in 1859 by Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV. It also runs hospitals on Oahu and Molokai. North Hawaii Community Hospital joined Queen's in January 2014.


Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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