The proposed 125-bed long-term care and skilled nursing medical center unveiled at Tuesday's Maui Planning Commission was a very welcome bit of good news.
Regency Pacific Inc. received a special accessory use permit to pursue its plan of an $18 million facility in the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei.
The long-term care center would employ 187 people. According to the story in Wednesday's Maui News, up to 90 of those employees would be considered highly skilled - doctors, nurses, dietitians, physical therapists and pharmacists. Regency Pacific said most of those jobs would go to Maui residents.
The company also said it would partner with Maui Community College's nursing program to help staff the facility.
The next step for the company is to apply to the State Health Planning and Development Agency for a certificate of need. That process is expected to take nine months.
Even if Regency Pacific has smooth sailing and the new center is open in a couple of years, Maui will need hundreds of more of these beds. According to Wednesday's story, the number of elderly on the Valley Isle is expected to triple by 2030. And there is already a shortage of these skilled nursing beds available.
Maui Memorial Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Wesley Lo came out in favor of the facility in a letter to the commission. Lo's letter pointed out that Maui Memorial intensive-care beds are occupied at capacity. Hospital beds could be freed up if long-term care patients could be transferred to the new facility.
Regency Pacific indicated that if things went smoothly in Kihei, it would be open to building other long-term care facilities on Maui. It's our hope things do proceed smoothly - and quickly - for Regency.
There is a pressing need for these long-term care, or nursing home, beds on Maui. With baby boomers aging, there is no time to waste in building these facilities.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.