A gift from the heart: Anonymous donor secures, transports thousands of masks for front-line worker

A gift from the heart: Anonymous donor secures, transports thousands of masks for front-line worker

By Special to West Hawaii Today | Monday, May 25, 2020, 12:05 a.m.

https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2020/05/25/hawaii-news/a-gift-from-the-heart-anonymous-donor-secures-transports-thousands-of-masks-for-front-line-worker/

Dr. Frank Sayre, center, distributes sterile surgical masks donated by an anonymous donor to the Keauhou Fire Station. Courtesy Photo

Tens of thousands of sterile surgical masks have reached Hawaii Island’s front-line workers thanks to an anonymous donor.

The donor flew in 54,000 masks on May 13 and another 36,000 masks on Saturday that are being distributed to front-line response teams through the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation.

To date, PPE supplies that have been nearly impossible to obtain have been provided to the Hawaii Fire Department, Hawaii Police Department, Kona Community Hospital, North Hawaii Community Hospital, Kohala Hospital, Kona Ambulatory Surgery Center, Alii Health Center for Cardiology, Orthopedics, Obstetrics/Gynecology Pediatrics, Gastroenterology and General Surgery, HOPE Services; and numerous medical, dental and veterinary offices.

These masks are among over 600,000 pieces of needed PPE that the donor secured at a cost of approximately $25 million to allow essential workers to “get back to work safely.“ It is part of the donor’s company’s philosophy to give back to communities and to continue to make a difference in the world.

Hawaii Fire Department Chief Darren Rosario and Battalion Chief Bill Bergin coordinated these efforts with Dr. Frank Sayre and Laura Mallery-Sayre, founders of the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation.

“It has been a true honor to be a part of this amazing effort to protect lives during this COVID-19 pandemic. We have such gratitude for our donor and his amazing heart!” Laura and Frank said.

COVID-19 crisis suppresses visits to Big Isle hospitals, clinics

COVID-19 crisis suppresses visits to Big Isle hospitals, clinics

 By STEPHANIE SALMONS Hawaii Tribune-Herald | Monday, May 18, 2020, 12:05 a.m.

Fewer patients are visiting Big Island emergency rooms and urgent care clinics due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that is having a negative impact on their revenue.

Dan Brinkman, East Hawaii Regional CEO, Hawaii Health Systems Corp., said Hilo Medical Center averaged between 4,000 and 4,200 visits a month prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. David Ige.

The hospital is now averaging between 2,800 and 3,000 visits, a 38% to 40% percent decline.

“It’s understandable, given the request for the governor’s order to stay at home,” Brinkman said. “I think a lot of people have taken that very serious, as we can see with the low COVID rates on our island, and I think our community has done a really good job following those directives.”

Because of those directives, Brinkman said people are limiting activities. There are fewer accidents, no more cruise visitors and fewer trauma injuries.

That’s resulted in fewer emergency room visits, but Brinkman said he’s concerned some patients are following the stay-at-home order to their detriment and seeking care after waiting far too long to do so.

“We’re seeing less overall patients in the ER. However, of the patients that we see, we’re admitting a higher percentage of them because they’re sicker.”

Brinkman said there’s been an increase in the number of patients admitted from the emergency room — up from about 12% to 17%-18%

“It’s a phenomenon that’s happening across the country,” said Brinkman. “Patients are sicker, waiting perhaps a bit long for their care. It’s understandable, but we’re hopeful as the community starts to reopen (and) some of the restrictions are lifted, that trend will reverse itself and people will feel more comfortable getting the care they need.”

But a decline in patients means a big hit to the hospital’s finances.

Brinkman said the hospital is projecting a $26 million drop in revenue through the end of the calendar year.

“We’ve seen declines in our elective surgeries, in clinic visits. Collectively, it’s cost us a lot.”

That projection, however, could balloon should there be a surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to Brinkman, combined revenue for the East Hawaii Region, which also includes the hospitals in Ka‘u and Honokaa, is around $260 million.

The hospital has received $21 million in federal funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“That will offset a good portion of that $26 million, which is good news,” Brinkman said. “We also started this whole crisis in pretty solid financial condition, so we have some reserves.”

HMC’s goal is to avoid reductions in services or layoffs or pay cuts, despite the persistence of the virus threat, he said.

“We’re hopeful we can manage that transition, because all hospitals are going to have to adjust their services, adjust how they’re going to do their business. Our goal is to do that without disrupting the health care in the community.”

Elsewhere in Hilo, declining patient counts are having a similar impact.

“As far as the numbers are concerned, we’re probably down about 60% of the patient load we normally see,” said Brenda Dunne, director of operations at Hilo Urgent Care.

Revenue is down about 60%, too.

Looking into her parking lot Friday, Dunne said there was maybe one car that didn’t belong to her staff, “which is really scary, because normally Monday and Friday are our busiest days.”

Typically, she has two doctors and three nurses working those days, but had to cut back to one doctor and two nurses.

“We’re happy that people are being safe, but as far as business is concerned, I don’t know how we’re going to do it if it continues to be this way,” Dunne said.

Making the situation more difficult, Dunne said, is the clinic’s income is based solely on patients who visit.

“If we don’t have patients coming in, we don’t have income coming in,” she said. “Every single patient are our paychecks. We do not have any funding from the state or from the federal government. That’s a huge hit for us.”

The clinic did apply for and received help from the Paycheck Protection Program, a U.S. Small Business Administration loan that helps businesses keep their workforces employed during the COVID-19 crisis.

“… When that is out, we shall see,” Dunn said.

The number of emergency room visits are down in other Big Island hospitals, too.

At Kona Community Hospital, a part of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., emergency room visits are down as well.

Chief Financial Officer Dean Herzog said the hospital’s emergency room had about 65 visits per day before stay-at-home orders were implemented but now have about 30.

Admissions also decreased from about 300 per month to about 200, and demand for all services is down by about 33%, he said.

Herzog said, too, that all hospital revenues are down by about a third, but federal stimulus dollars will help offset the losses. He did not say how much money the hospital will be receiving.

Apart from COVID-19 testing, which is available in its emergency room, ER visits to Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea have decreased between 20% and 30%, spokeswoman Lynn Scully said.

Like HMC, Scully said NHCH’s biggest concern is making sure people get the care that is needed and not waiting.

“It is usually easier to treat things earlier instead of waiting,” she said. “Emergencies don’t stop because of a pandemic, and we would like the community to know that their local emergency rooms are open and available for people’s urgent needs 24/7.”

 

Medical staff honored with flyover

Medical staff honored with flyover

By West Hawaii Today Staff | Saturday, May 16, 2020, 12:05 a.m.

Staff from two Hawaii Island hospitals made it outside Thursday to see the Hawaii Air National Guard and 15th Wing Active Duty Airmen from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam perform a flyover in a salute to all frontline workers battling COVID-19.

The KC-135 Stratotanker flew over Kona Community Hospital and North Hawaii Community Hospital Thursday afternoon as part of routine training sorties.

Inspired by the Air Force’s Operation American Resolve Salutes campaign, the flyover was intended to provide a salute to all the health care professionals, frontline responders, and essential personnel working to keep everyone safe and healthy during these unique times.

 

Kona Community Hospital reports first inpatient case of COVID-19

Kona Community Hospital reports first inpatient case of COVID-19

The patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, according to a statement provided by KCH spokeswoman Judy Donovan. The patient, a resident, has no history of travel.

The adult, who is in stable condition, is the first COVID-19 patient to be admitted to the Kealakekua hospital.

“Kona Community Hospital has been actively preparing with our federal, state, and county partners to respond to a confirmed novel coronavirus case since February,” said Infection Prevention and Employee Health director Lisa Downing, RN, in a statement. “Our top priority is maintaining the health and safety of our staff and patients.”

The state Department of Health’s on-call virologist was consulted and is supporting the hospital’s care management of this patient that includes precautions to protect patients and staff, Donovan said.

According to the statement, the hospital’s house supervisor, emergency department and medical unit leadership and staff were all briefed upon notification of the positive test. All precautions were reviewed with the infection prevention director and the incident command team leader.

The hospital is currently following its emergency plans, which include minimizing the number of employees who enter the patient’s room; following precautions defined by CDC that include standard, contact, airborne and eye protection; and isolating the patient.

The hospital’s House Supervisor, Emergency Department and Medical Unit leadership and staff were all briefed upon notification of the positive test. All precautions were reviewed with the infection prevention director and the incident command team leader.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health announced Thursday afternoon one new case of COVID-19 on Hawaii Island, bringing Hawaii County’s total to 68. Of those cases, 39 have been cleared and released from isolation.

Including the admission announced Thursday, two Hawaii County individuals have been hospitalized. The first was a worker at McDonald’s in Kona who tested positive and was transported earlier this month to Oahu for treatment, according to state Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson, who has stated repeatedly the case will be included in Hawaii County’s tally.

The new Big Island case was among four new positive cases announced statewide on Thursday. One case was on Oahu and two were on Maui. All are adult residents.

Hawaii has now recorded 596 cases of COVID-19 since Feb. 28. Six of those cases were Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

To date, more than 26,600 people have been tested by private and state laboratories for the novel coronavirus.

No new COVID-19-related deaths were reported Thursday. The statewide death toll remained at 12.

Update from West Hawaii Region Board of Directors

Jay Kreuzer, Acting CEO West Hawaii Region

On April 3, 2020, the HHSC West Hawaii Region Board of Directors named Jay Kreuzer into the role of Acting CEO of the West Hawaii region, which includes Kona Community Hospital and Kohala Hospital.

The Board decision was made in order for then-Acting CEO, Linda Rosen, MD to return to her full time position as CEO at the HHSC corporate office on `Oahu.

Frank Sayre, DDS and West Hawaii Region Board Chair said the decision to have Kreuzer step into the Acting CEO role provides seamless coverage for the Region, which is crucial during the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sayre said, “We’re very appreciative of Dr. Rosen’s leadership and guidance over the past several weeks, but understand her need to get back to her full time responsibilities.”

Kona Ambulatory Surgery Center and Kona Community Hospital partner to accept masks

Beginning Friday, March 27, 2020, the Kona Ambulatory Surgery Center (KASC) and Kona Community Hospital (KCH) will be partnering to collect donated surgical masks and N-95 respirators.

The two healthcare organizations are seeking surgical masks and N-95 respirators in original, unopened packaging to augment supplies at KCH should additional supplies be needed.

Kona Ambulatory Surgery Center has been designated as the drop off site for donated items. Donations will be accepted Monday – Friday from 7:00am to 4:00pm. The surgery center address is 75-5905 Walua Road, Suite 4 in Kailua-Kona. Donation receipts will be provided.

Please contact KASC clinical manager, Nadine Calloway Reese at (808) 331-7960 or by email at nreese@konaasc.com.

“The community has expressed so much interest in helping during this unprecedented time,” said Katherine Cholet, KASC Administrator. “We’re humbled by that, and also happy to help Kona Community Hospital in their preparations for a potential influx of COVID-19 patients.”

KCH Welcomes First Baby of 2019

Kona Community Hospital proudly welcomed Hawaii`s first baby of the New Year at 12:01 am on January 1st. Parents, Clarissa and John Garcia were thrilled with the 12:01 am birth of Alekah Obra Garcia on January 1st. Adding to the magic of the moment, Clarissa and Johnson are both employees at Kona Community Hospital.

Congratulations to the Garcia family. Your entire KCH o`hana welcomes your its newest arrival.

  Parents, Clarissa & Johnson Garcia welcome baby, Alekha.

Read West Hawaii Today coverage of the happy event at:  New life: First Big Island baby of 2019 birthed at KCH

ARDA – Hawaii donates $2500 to Kona Hospital Foundation

On February 14th, the American Resort Developers Association (ARDA) donated $2500 to the Kona Hospital Foundation (KHF) in support of Kona Community Hospital (KCH).

Left to right: Sidney Fuke, ARDA Liaison , Pat Clark KHF Secretary and Gretchen Watson-Kabei with Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

Gretchen Watson-Kabei with Wyndham Vacation Ownership and Sidney Fuke, ARDA Liaison were on hand to present the generous donation on behalf of the ARDA.

“We’re so appreciative of the support of the American Resort Developers Association,” said Foundation Secretary, Pat Clark. “Their donation will help us to meet our mission to improve technologies and services at Kona Community Hospital.”

The Kona Hospital Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, was created to accept gifts and donations for new medical technology, expanded services and enhanced facilities for Kona Community Hospital.

Hospital Opens Newly Remodeled and Expanded Pharmacy

On September 26, Kona Community Hospital (KCH) will celebrate the completion of its newly remodeled and expanded Pharmacy with a blessing and open house. The event commemorates the culmination of a multidepartment renovation project.

Opened in the 1970’s, the pharmacy department has been constrained by its size for a number of years. The expansion nearly doubles the pharmacy size, creating space for new equipment and furnishings.

Design of the space took workflow efficiency into consideration. The new configuration replaces a cramped, 40-year old pharmacy model, which wasn’t as efficient as it could be. The brightly lit new space includes a general dispensing area that flows into the individual pharmacists’ workstations, also provides plenty of counter space. The pharmacy remodel includes the implementation of Quiet Zones to improve staff concentration and decrease distractions.

Security was also an important design component. The new pharmacy has two access doors, and no external facing windows, increasing staff safety. It is fully alarmed and will be monitored by high-security cameras.

The space has been outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, including:

  • Seven zones, each with individual temperature and humidity control
  • All new air handlers
  • A HEPA air filtration system
  • Pharmacy grade refrigeration
  • 6’ Laminar Flow Hood

Additionally, the KCH pharmacy will be compliant United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 797 standards for sterile compounding. It will also be one of the first pharmacies in Hawaii to be USP 800 compliant in the handling and storage of hazardous drugs such as chemotherapy.

“The pharmacy’s new layout and technology will reduce potential for medication errors’” said Pharmacy Director, Marilinda Passon. “The new design will help us ensure that medications are dispensed safely and accurately so that we provide nurses and doctors the tools they need to heal the community.”

Noting that pharmacists no longer work only behind the scenes, Passon says, “Our pharmacists have a key role in employee and patient education. We’re thrilled that now we’ll be doing that job in a 21st century pharmacy.”

The KCH pharmacy provides pharmacy services to Kona Community Hospital, the KCH Cancer Treatment Center’s Infusion/Hematology clinic and to Kohala Hospital. Currently, the pharmacy operates 7 days per week and is staffed by 8 pharmacists and 7 pharmacy techs.