Forum addresses questions, concerns over cuts at Leahi Hospital, Maluhia

Local News

A public meeting was held Friday to address impending layoffs at both Leahi Hospital and Maluhia nursing home.

Earlier this week, Hawaii Health Systems Corp. announced it plans to cut a combined 64 positions at both facilities in the face of an estimated $3.7 million deficit in fiscal year 2016.

Dozens showed up with questions and concerns over the 15-percent reduction in staff slated to take effect in November.

“Now you’re going to have to lay off all these people, these nurses who have been doing a good job with the patients,” said Gladys Fujioka, whose mother resides at Leahi Hospital. “How is the patient going to feel? Right now as it is, they’re short-handed in the evening shift. They’re working hard. How are you going to have the full support of the nurses? It’s hard.”

“We can’t raise the rates. The revenues for these services at Maluhia and Leahi come from Medicare and Medicaid, and since the government fixes those rates and we’re not allowed to charge anything more than what the government rate is, that’s the only income besides the state funds that we have and yet the expenses continue to go up,” said Dr. Linda Rosen, HHSC CEO.

“Our goals are to stabilize our staffing levels and operate with reduced admissions,” said Derek Akiyoshi, HHSC CEO, Oahu Region. “Social workers and nursing will plan and minimize the impact with room changes. We’ll listen and do our best to communicate with you and we will provide support.”

The reduction also calls for the downsizing of one skilled nursing wing, or 38 beds, per facility (76 reduced beds total) and a halt on accepting new patients.

Healthcare officials say their goal is to keep patients in place for as long as possible without having to transfer them to alternate care settings.

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