Passage of bill is critical to hospital’s future

As you may know, the state Senate is discussing SB 3064, which would allow public-private partnership for Hawaii state hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center. This bill is being closely followed by the medical community since it would allow renovation of the hospital, expansion of services and an influx of new physicians.

Health care is a very important factor when people choose a place to settle, especially for older people, children and their parents.

On Maui, we have an aging physician population and no prospect of replacing departed physicians. Some hospital services hinge on a sole, dedicated hardworking physician. What is going to happen when that person gets sick or retires?

The crisis (and I believe we are facing a health care crisis on Maui in the next five years) does not only affect specialists. As director of a hospitalist program, I am dealing with constant shortage of internal medicine physicians. This is due to many factors, important amongst them are outdated facilities, specialist shortage, lack of a residency training program and stereotypes about community hospitals.

I usually tell interviewees that we are a small but proud hospital. We have great strengths in cardiology, neurology, interventional radiology, critical care. Our geographic location is unique. I do not think that MMMC should be viewed as another small struggling community hospital.

Modernizing our hospital, raising its reputation for future physicians and finding the right partner will allow us to expand further and continue providing excellent patient care on Maui.

Constantin Novoselsky, M.D.