HAWAII ISLAND (KHON2)– What would you do if you were faced with a potentially serious medical condition, but couldn’t get an appointment or the results? That’s exactly what some Big Island residents are dealing with. One medical expert is urging those impacted, to not wait and schedule an appointment somewhere else so they can get medical care as soon as possible.
A Big Island resident, who asked only to be identified as Hayley said she’s been trying to get an MRI appointment with Hawaii Radiologic Associates since Thursday, Oct. 20.
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“I’m in limbo,” Hayley said holding back tears. “I’m not making progress to help my health and that’s scary. You know, it’s scary financially. And it’s scary medically.”
She tried calling and emailing, but she said she got no response. So she drove to the office.
“I was greeted by a lady with a clipboard saying that their phones are down and that their computers are down and they are not taking any appointments,” said Hayley. “But as soon as they’re up and running, someone would give me a callback.”
KHON2 also tried to reach them. The HRA website did not appear to be working and repeated attempts to speak to someone on the phone were also unsuccessful.
A message on the HRA voicemail said:
“Hawaii Radiologic Associates recently experienced technical difficulties that are causing temporary disruptions to some of our computer systems and telephones. Unfortunately, as a result of this system outage, all patient appointments scheduled through Nov. 13, 2022 will be rescheduled to a later date.”
HRA provides a wide range of imaging services including CT scans and MRIs.
Healthcare Association of Hawaii President Hilton Raethel said the closure is causing a domino effect, impacting hospitals.
“It is very concerning that both of these sites are out of operation,” Raethel said. “This puts a lot more strain on the facilities that are running.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Hilo Medical Center said:
“Over the past two weeks, Hilo Medical Center has experienced a 24% overall increase in utilization of our imaging services.”
They said they are expanding their services to accommodate more patients.
Kona Community Hospital also announced it is expanding outpatient imaging services.
“Patients should not delay getting necessary scans both for their peace of mind,” Raethel explained. “And if they do need to start treatment, they should start treatment as quickly as possible.”
Raethel said those waiting for results should get a repeat scan especially if it is for something like cancer that is time sensitive. And, he said patients will not be billed twice.
“We have reached out to all of the major players in the state and working with them to ensure that the patient is held harmless in this situation,” said Raethel. “It’s not the patient’s fault that they can’t get their result from HRA.”
Click here for information about Hilo Medical Center imaging.
Click here for information about Kona Community Hospital imaging services.
Hayley said, she just wants to move forward and get the medical care she needs.
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“Right now, my care’s completely on hold. We don’t know what I have to do because I don’t have a picture of my brain yet,” Hayley explained.