LAWMAKERS SECURE FUNDS FOR KONA COMMUNITY HOSPITAL TO ADDRESS RISK OF CLOSURE
News Release from House Democratic Caucus, April 27, 2023
Kona, Hawaiʻi – Lawmakers are pleased to announce over $18 million in capital improvement project (CIP) funds are secured in the state budget for Kona Community Hospital, one of the largest employers in West Hawaiʻi. Within the state budget, $2,300,000 is designated for the construction and equipment for the pharmacy expansion, and $16,247,000 will go toward upgrades to infrastructure to mitigate the risk of the hospital's closure.
In recent years, concerns have been raised by staff and the community regarding the risk of closure due to outdated utilities in the acute care hospital that has proudly served the West Hawaiʻi community for over 100 years. Senate Majority Leader Dru Mamo Kanuha and Representatives Kirstin Kahaloa and Nicole E. Lowen prioritized Kona Community Hospital upgrades during the 2023 legislative session and have continued to emphasize their support for maintaining healthcare in West Hawai‘i.
“Over the past year, we have heard from hospital leaders and community advocates about the issues facing our hospital, so I’m thrilled that we were able to secure over $18 million dollars to assist with critical upgrades and expansion,” stated Senate Majority Leader Dru Mamo Kanuha (Senate District 3, Kona, Ka‘ū, Volcano). “I’d like to extend my gratitude to Senator Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran and Representative Scott Y. Nishimoto for their work on this year’s capital improvement project (CIP) budget—specifically, for recognizing the importance of these projects for West Hawai‘i. These funds will go towards ensuring that Kona Community Hospital can meet the needs of our community as we prepare to expand medical services for residents in the near future.”
“For over a century, Kona residents have counted on Kona Community Hospital. This allocation of over $18 million to address our only medical center’s critical repair and capacity needs is an investment in the health and safety of our families for years to come,” said House Representative Kirstin Kahaloa (House District 6, Hōnaunau, Nāpo‘opo‘o, Captain Cook, Kealakekua, Keauhou, Hōlualoa, Kailua-Kona). “Mahalo to my colleagues in the House and Senate for prioritizing these critical projects, and to the doctors, nurses, and all medical professionals who are on the front line every day for our people.”
“We continue to work together for much-needed improvements for Kona Community Hospital, and to improve healthcare services in West Hawaiʻi in general. Mahalo to the Finance and Ways and Means Committees for recognizing the urgency of this funding," said House Representative Nicole E. Lowen (House District 7, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau, Kalaoa, Pu‘uanahulu, Puako, portion of Waikoloa).
Originally founded in 1914, Kona Community Hospital has since grown to a 94-bed full-service acute care hospital that serves the community with a 24-hour emergency department that is designated as a Level III trauma center. The hospital's most vulnerable areas will be addressed by the CIP funds, which aim to keep the facility open for many more years.
A final version of the State Budget Bill (HB300 CD1) was approved on Tuesday night by House and Senate conferees. Both chambers will vote on the floor before it goes to the governor's desk for signature.