A staple in the Kahala community for over a decade is closing its doors.
Island Urgent Care Kahala announced its last day of operations will be August 13. The facility opened in 2006 at Kahala Square.
In a news release, the medical facility wrote its rent was being raised to more than 300 percent, therefore making it difficult to stay open.
The news of the closure strikes a chord with Stanford Kami, who came in for medical attention.
“What happened was it was a Sunday. I was at Longs. I was in pain,” explained Kami.
He says he was too far away from his primary care doctor.
“At that time it benefited me. Because you got to call your doctor and make an appointment (and I did not have time). They got to take me in right away. It was worth it. I was in pain. I’m glad I went there. I never thought to go. In my mind I was thinking, ‘Oh, I could go to Queen’s emergency, but I’d pay too much money. This one wasn’t too bad,” said Kami.
Urgent care centers are used to treat patients that need immediate care, but isn’t serious enough to go to the emergency room, says Dr. James Ireland, assistant clinical professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
“This is just an issue of access to healthcare. Are people able to get the medical care they need? There are urgent cares around Oahu, but one less is definitely going to make an impact,” said Ireland.
Ireland says the UH medical school is working to fill the state’s primary care doctor shortage.
“The issue, then, is can people get a primary care doctor. Are they able to see people? They need to use emergency care, and go to urgent care centers or emergency rooms and we all know emergency rooms are crowded. So the urgent care fills an important niche for overflow. Having less of that is not good.”
Island Urgent Care plans to reopen in another Kahala location in the future. They have four other locations across Oahu.
Island Urgent Care Kahala has been a staple in the Kahala community for more than 12 years and will be closing their doors August 13, 2018. With the redevelopment of Kahala Square, the new Kahala Marketplace will result in a 300% rent increase (and 8% of sales clause), forcing out smaller businesses that have resided in the area for many years including Island Urgent Care.
“Medical Practices operate on a small margin, with a much higher overhead and require more employees than other retail sales businesses, said Dr. Robert Ruggeri, President and Owner of Island Urgent Care. “We could not survive if we had to pay a retail percent of sales in our lease. I expected an increase in rent after redevelopment, but never expected to pay 3 times what we pay now.
Island Urgent Care opened their doors in 2006 as Kahala Urgent Care. Kahala was the first of five clinics for Dr. Robert Ruggeri. Dr. Ruggieri started Island Urgent Care with the intent of giving the community a place to go for sudden illness or injury, as an alternative to the overcrowded ER, or overbooked Primary Care. Island Urgent Care has provided care to over 18,000 patient visits in 2017 alone.
A recent tenant list for Kahala Marketplace shows many popular retail shops and eateries, and a new healthcare tenant in Straub/Hawaii Pacific Health (HPH). Island Urgent Care has become a trusted name in the community and now a bigger health care system has seen their success and hopes to emulate it. Island Urgent Care does plan to return to Kahala in the near future and is courting another location.
Until then Island Urgent Care has four other locations on Oahu, including locations in Hawaii Kai, Kapahulu, Kakaako, and Pearl Kai. They are also on track to expand to the west side of Oahu with a new location in Kapolei in late 2018.
The area is being redeveloped by Kamehameha Schools and renamed Kahala Marketplace.
Most of the buildings are 40 to 50 years old, and Kamehameha Schools says the renovations will bring a better retail and dining experience.
Business owners were told that it will be about a year and a half before the renovations are finished.
Kamehameha Schools says the project will also create more than 300 permanent jobs, and another 200 plus construction jobs.