KONA, Hawaii (KHON2) — Hawai’i Lawmakers have announced that they have secured $18 million dollars to save the Kona Community Hospital from closing its doors.

The funds are coming from the capital improvement project (CIP) funds which are a part of the State budget.

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Kona Community Hospital is one of the largest employers in West Hawaiʻi and has proudly served the community for over 100 years.

Within the State budget, there will be $2,300,000 designated for the construction and necessary equipment for the hospital’s pharmacy expansion.

There is also $16,247,000 that will go toward upgrades to the hospital’s infrastructure which are key to mitigating the risk of its closure.

“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).

Community and staff have raised many concerns in recent years claiming that outdated utilities are a problem. These issues were in direct relation to fears of needing to close the hospital.

“I’d like to extend my gratitude to Sen. Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran and Rep. Scott Y. Nishimoto for their work on this year’s capital improvement project budget—specifically, for recognizing the importance of these projects for West Hawai‘i,” added Sen. Kanuha.

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 emphasized their support for maintaining quality healthcare in 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.” added Sen. Kanuha.

A final version of the State Budget Bill (HB300 CD1) was approved on Tuesday night, April 25 by House and Senate conferees.

“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 Rep. Nicole E. Lowen (House District 7, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau, Kalaoa, Pu‘uanahulu, Puako, portion of Waikoloa).

Kona Community Hospital was originally founded in 1914. It 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.

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The hospital’s most vulnerable areas will be addressed by the CIP funds which aim to keep the facility open for many more years.

Both chambers will be voting on the floor before it goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.