Residents question builders about west Maui hospital


LAHAINA, Maui (AP) — A new hospital is planned for Lahaina, but residents at a community meeting questioned whether physicians can be attracted to the West Maui Hospital and Medical Center.

“Where are they coming from?” Kaanapali resident Roger Ross asked Monday at the meeting attended by at least 100 at the Lahaina Civic Center. “It’s a serious question because there’s only a handful of specialists on this island, and most of them live on the other side because they’re on-call at Maui Memorial (Medical Center).”

Wesley Lo, Maui regional chief executive officer of Hawaii Health System Corp., which oversees Maui Memorial, said the new hospital could face high costs in employing salaried staff physicians. About a decade ago, he said, Maui Memorial didn’t employ physicians, and they were in practice for themselves.

Independents are retiring and younger doctors prefer to be paid by someone, he said. “We have to pay the salary and run the business for them,” Lo said.

Brian Hoyle, president of Newport Hospital Corp., the developer of the new 53,000-square-foot hospital, said it’s not focused on hiring specialists and that it’s premature to speculate on a budget for employing doctors.

As a critical-access hospital serving a rural community, the new hospital would be limited to 25 acute-care inpatient beds in contrast to the 200 beds at Maui Memorial, he said.

“It’s a completely different hospital,” Hoyle said. “We’re a small facility and community-based model. We’re not looking at a salary-hospital model, but we will have salaried positions.”

Charlie Slaton, chief executive officer of Critical Access HealthCare LLC, which will manage the hospital, said it will employ 65 to 75 nurses and 50 people in other roles.

The complex is expected to cost $60 million, including $47 million for the hospital, Hoyle said. His company is purchasing the land and securing land entitlements, which could take about a year.

 

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