Don’t let Oahu interests dictate MMMC’s future

I’ve been a physician on Maui since 1999. I was a major contributor in Dr. Ron Kwon’s attempt to bring a second hospital to Maui. Currently the governor, the state legislators, hospital administration, physicians and nurses all agree that a public-private partnership for Maui Memorial Medical Center is now needed.

MMMC/Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s Maui Region loses approximately $43 million a year. It is now a critical time to create a new foundation for the future.

We must be open to all potential partners. The state Legislature, in SB 3064, has limited partnership to existing Hawaii corporations. By eliminating the opportunity to attract a well-known, state-of-the-art institution (for example, the Mayo Clinic), we limit ourselves.

It would then be likely that MMMC would serve primarily as a referral hospital to Oahu, with services cut back. Even if services were maintained, how likely is it that an Oahu entity would invest $750 million to build a new hospital on Maui? Whereas an out-of-state institution would be bringing new resources and expertise.

It is important that Maui residents have a voice in their own future and not just be dictated to by Oahu interests. Oahu hospitals will profit if we are restricted in partnership.

Please contact your representatives regarding SB 3064, asking for no restrictions in partnership. Why wouldn’t the citizens of Maui want to find out who the potential partner could be and the possibilities of what they could bring?

James W. Jones, M.D.