Bruce Holmberg

Photo from Nathan Hokama

Shriners Hospitals for Children has made great strides in providing to keiki proper care and treatment in the Pacific Basin who have bone, joint and neuromuscular conditions with proper care and treatment.

Bruce Holmberg, chairman of the hospital’s board of governors, explains that the 24-bed specialized pediatric orthopaedic hospital offers care to the children at no cost, regardless of the family’s income or ability to pay.

“For many years … all the care was provided at no cost to families,” Holmberg explains. “The mission hasn’t changed, but now the hospital system also bills insurance companies for the care that’s provided for the families.”

In addition, Shriners Hospitals for Children in Honolulu, which was featured on MidWeek‘s cover Aug. 25, 2010, when the new hospital was dedicated, recently opened a dental clinic.

“It’s very helpful because of the need for dental care for the children, especially those who are coming from Pacific Rim countries,” Holmberg says. The new dental clinic was donated by the Kondo family of Hawaii Family Dental, and Holmberg says since Dr. Gary Kondo’s passing, Shriners has dedicated the dental clinic in his honor.

“We also have hired a neurologist (Ryan Lee), who is going to help us with our kids,” he says. “Ryan will be a great asset to us because the children here and in all of Hawaii are in real need of a neurologist.”

Another change to the Shriners system includes a group that greets patients and families who walk through the doors in an informal setting full of aloha spirit.

“We give out Diamond Bakery sea animal cookies, which the children seem to like very much,” Holmberg says.

Shriners has made its mission very clear, and it’s doing everything in its power to provide families with exceptional care for their children, even down to the transportation costs.

“Most recently, we’ve been spending $250,000 to $300,000 a year in the transportation of children from their home to here – for one guardian and the child,” Holmberg says. “We are busy raising funds for that.”

While Shriners is making big changes in its systems and operations, the organization understands that it’s the small things that can make the biggest difference.

Now, instead of a cumbersome application process, those interested in Shriners services can make a quick phone call to set up an appointment. In addition, the hospital is working to expand its telemedicine program.

Bones grow and heal differently in children, and that’s where Shriners steps in.

“Some of the children who walk through the door are never expected to walk by their parents, and they end up walking out the door.”

Shriners will hold its 90th anniversary celebration Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the hospital grounds, and the public is invited to attend.