Plans to expand Queen’s West and Straub advance through Honolulu City Council

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the need for more capacity at some of Hawaii’s hospitals. Now, plans are moving through the Honolulu City Council to expand Queen’s West and Straub.

Queen’s West could quadruple in size in the near future. The hospital is proposing a 15-year, $500 million renovation to provide more health care to the west side of Oahu. This proposal comes after many lessons learned from the pandemic.

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“If we had the hospital that we were designing pre-COVID, we would have been in really good shape,” said Jason Chang, chief operating officer of Queen’s Health Systems.

The expansion would improve the emergency department at Queen’s West, which is the second busiest in the state and grow the bed count from 104 to 364 with all single occupancy rooms.

“Something we learned with the COVID outbreak was that the rooms need to be infection prevention ready,” said Chang. “So negative air pressure, things like isolation, better communication for families that can’t go into the room if somebody was really sick,” Chang said.

The expansion would come with new services like labor and delivery, cardiology and orthopedics. The City Council zoning committee is advancing the proposal. City Council member Calvin Say is also suggesting employee housing.

“For your blue collar workers, your doctors, you know the thought for me is that it would be an incentive to recruiting future employees for the hospital,” Say said.

Straub is also proposing a $127 million over 15 years to add a new hospital tower, parking structure, and additional bed space.

“We’re ready to redevelop the campus and prepare a medical center that meets the growing needs of our community care that we provide,” said Art Gladstone, Hawaii Pacific Health executive vice president and chief strategy officer.

“What we’ve learned from this pandemic is we do need some of these rooms and critical functions, as well as the ability to provide for medical offices, as well as expansion for seeing these improvements to care for our island residents,” said Brandon Elefante, Honolulu City Council member.

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The expansion proposals will go before the full council on Nov. 10. The final decision could come by the end of this year.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified one of the interviewees.

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