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Oahu nursing center to close, citing financial challenges

WAHIAWA, Hawaii (AP) — The only skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in central Oahu expects to close this summer.

Wahiawa General Hospital said it plans to close its long-term nursing center on July 22, citing insufficient insurance reimbursements and continued financial challenges, Hawaii News Now reported.

It’s also been struggling to hire and retain staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wahiawa General, a small independent hospital, had received millions in taxpayers dollars to keep it afloat in the past, but it is still losing over a million dollars a year.

It also doesn’t have the money to improve existing facilities, such as the long-term nursing center, which was built in 1966.

Hospital administrators said many of the patients in Wahiawa are covered by the Supplemental Security Income program or Medicaid, which have low reimbursement rates.

The long-term care center has 115 beds, according to its website. It currently has 60 patients.

John McDermott, the state’s long-term care ombudsman, said Hawaii can’t afford to lose nursing homes, especially when the state’s senior population is increasing so rapidly. The nearest alternatives for skilled nursing and rehabilitation are in Kaneohe and Pearl City.

Wahiawa General is giving 90 days notice and helping to relocate patients.