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Maui’s hospital system here for everyone

Viewpoint

As the leader of Maui’s community hospital system, it’s been an honor to help care for the people of Maui and Lanai for the past three years.

That’s why I was concerned when I heard recently that there are still some people who believe or have been told that not everyone can get care at our hospitals because of their insurance. Today I’d like to set the record straight and reassure you that our hospital system is here to serve everyone.

These rumors go back to July 1, 2017, when the management of Maui County’s three public hospitals (and two clinics) were transferred from the state of Hawaii to a newly created, private, nonprofit organization — Maui Health System.

Maui Health System is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. This partnership has allowed us to leverage Kaiser Permanente’s scale, experience and technology to make some substantial improvements in our health care system — like upgrading facilities, recruiting new physicians and expanding services, including the addition of a new, state-of-the-art neurosurgery program on Maui. These enhancements have helped to significantly increase our national Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems star rating developed by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, with the most recent scores just released last month.

While Maui Health System is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente, let me be clear: the hospitals we operate are independent community hospitals open to all insurance coverages. Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital serve every single member of the community, regardless of their health insurance coverage or ability to pay.

Again, you do not have to be a Kaiser Permanente member to receive care from us. We serve all patients, and our hospitals work with all community health care providers — including those that serve Kaiser as well as non-Kaiser patients. And regardless of insurance or ability to pay, every patient receives the same, high-quality standard of care.

Unfortunately, we continue to hear reports from the community about confusion and misunderstanding.

We’ve heard cases of HMSA members being told by their own employers, by health care professionals and by people in the community that they won’t be seen at the hospital, that they won’t get the same level of service, that billing will be more difficult, or that they should consider switching their health insurance carriers.

Simply put, this is not true.

Since the beginning, our Maui County community hospitals have always accepted all types of insurance — including Kaiser, HMSA, HMAA, UHA, and others — and have also welcomed patients with no insurance. This has not changed.

As our county’s community hospitals, we believe that the health and well-being of our residents and visitors is our kuleana. This sense of mission and responsibility drives everything we do. It doesn’t matter what kind of insurance you have, or if you have insurance at all — we are all a part of this community and every person deserves our help and care.

We don’t want you to worry that you won’t be able to get the care you need. If you’re told that you need to change insurance, or you can’t get care at Maui Memorial Medical Center (or Kula Hospital or Lanai Community Hospital) please contact us right away for assistance at (888) 418-6901.

For patients and families who need extra support, we have a financial assistance program, which you can learn about by calling (808) 868-5281.

For more information about billing and payment options, including financial counseling, visit our new comprehensive website at mauihealth.org/billing.

At Maui Health System, we’re committed to working with all the stakeholders involved to ensure that everyone in our community can receive the care they need, without leaving home and their families, where healing happens best. This includes all the providers in our community, all insurance carriers, our government leaders in the county and state and our dedicated team here at Maui Health System. We believe we are all one ‘ohana, and we’re grateful for the collaboration and solidarity we’ve received from our partners and team over the last few years. It is truly amazing how everyone comes together for this community.

And with your support, we look forward to serving the people of Maui and Lanai for many decades to come.

* Mike Rembis is chief executive officer of Maui Health System.

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