Hospitals seeking more funding


The state’s public hospital network says it is in need of emergency funding if it is to maintain its current level of service as Hawaii’s health care safety net.

Specifically, administrators of Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Region — encompassing four acute and long-term care facilities and 11 clinics on the windward side of the Big Island — say they expect to come up short this year to the tune of just under $5 million unless aided by the state.

Senate Bill 2866, which is expected to be taken up in conference committee sometime next week, requests a total of $18.2 million in emergency appropriations from the state Legislature for facilities across Hawaii.

In a Tuesday phone interview, Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Alice M. Hall explained that a large part of the HHSC regions’ shortfalls will be as a result of the most recent collective bargaining decision approving raises for hospital workers.

“Unfunded raises totaled $11.2 million this year,” she said.

Meanwhile, declining Medicare reimbursements and the federal sequestration cuts that went into effect this fiscal year have also taken their toll.

“Physicians and hospitals are being paid less money as a result of Obamacare, so we’ve had reimbursement reductions and the federal sequestration to deal with, totaling $4.6 million for (fiscal year) 2014,” Hall said.

HHSC’s Kauai region has been hit especially hard by operational deficiencies, she said, with lower revenues and fewer beds being filled than anticipated.

Email Colin M. Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune-herald.com.