Forum Tackles HMC Closure, West’s Health Care

I was saddened, as were many others, to hear the announcement that Hawaii Medical Center closed last year. Many Leeward residents have contacted me to express their anxiety about the closure. That is why I’m hosting a Hawaii Medical Center Closure town hall meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. this Thursday at Kapolei Middle School. We will share with residents what medical resources are available and also discuss what can be done to reopen an area medical facility.

A few of our speakers are Dr. David Sakamoto, deputy director of the state Department of Health; Dr. James Ireland, city EMS director; Dr. Melanie Kelly, medical director of Pearl City Urgent Care; and Jen Chahanovich of Pali Momi Medical Center.

I understand concerns of our community, as this is one of the most important issues on the West side of the island. We have a job fair planned in March to include medical job opportunities and assistance to help those who lost their jobs when HMC closed. I will tell you more soon.

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Kymberly Pine

One of my highest priorities this session is to support healthcare and be sure that West Oahu residents know what is happening regarding their healthcare options.

Health is one of the most important parts of our lives. It’s something you don’t always think about when you have good health. But when your health is in jeopardy for a short time or a long time that’s when you realize how vital health really is.

I’ve voted to support two bills on medical issues that were heard in the House Committee on Health. HB 1953 would appropriate funds to expand emergency medical services and ambulance services on the Leeward Coast. It also awards a grant to Wahiawa General Hospital to provide more emergency room services. HB 1846 would allow special-purpose revenue bonds of up to $3,000,000 for Wahiawa General Hospital so it can construct health care facilities.

Another issue that I am closely following is elder abuse. I voted in support of HB 2192, which makes it harder to take advantage of our elders in financial matters. This bill requires banks and other financial institutions to report any suspected financial abuse to the authorities, adult protective services and the police. I also supported HB 2098, which would allow victims of financial abuse the opportunity to sue for damages.

I look forward to working with you on issues you are concerned about. Please contact me with your issues, and let’s work together to make a difference in our community.

Contact state Rep. Kymberly Pine, R-District 43 (‘Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Pu’uloa) at reppine@capitol.hawaii.gov or call 586-9730.