Bill looks at Maui's medical needs
Senate lawmakers want to create a 15-member task force that would study Maui's health care needs and come up with a strategic plan within a year.
The initiative was tacked on to a House bill related to health care as the measure passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which is chaired by Maui Sen. Rosalyn Baker.
"We have a health care crisis on Maui that stems from a failure by this administration to adequately plan for Maui's growing health care needs," Baker (D, Honokahau-Makena) said in a news release. "We need an accurate picture of Maui's health care landscape and a realistic, effective plan to address our current and future needs.
"By the same token, we don't want just another study. This is a thorough review that includes significant community input, one that we can wrap up in less than one year."
There was no immediate comment by Gov. Linda Lingle's administration yesterday, but the governor did introduce bills in the House and Senate this session aimed at getting a second hospital built on Maui.
Neither chamber heard the bills.
The state-subsidized Maui Memorial Medical Center is the only hospital on Maui. In October, the State Health Planning and Development Agency rejected a proposal by Malulani Health Services to build a new hospital. An appeal was turned down in January.
The planning agency said the proposed facility threatened to compromise health care by competing with Maui Memorial for already-scarce resources.
It urged Malulani and Maui Memorial to work together to establish a full-service hospital and a long-term care or nursing facility on the island.
The task force would be charged with determining current and future health care needs of Maui County; developing a plan for providing primary, acute, long-term, urgent and emergency care, and disaster preparedness; and determining an appropriate role for Maui County facilities in the Statewide System of Emergency and Trauma Care.
The amended House Bill 212 faces one more vote by the full Senate before going back to the House for consideration.
House lawmakers would have to agree to the amendments before the measure could go to the governor for consideration. Disagreements would have to be worked out in conference committee.