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.

Hawaii Island Trauma Centers Launch Island-wide Text-Free Driving Campaign

The Hawaii Island trauma centers at Hilo Medical Center, Kona Community Hospital and North Hawaii Community Hospital are collaborating on a summer safety campaign designed to educate Hawaii County drivers about the dangers of texting while driving.  The campaign, kicked off on Memorial Day, marks the “100 deadliest days of summer for teen drivers.”

Traditionally, the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is the “100 deadliest days of summer” for teen drivers according to the National Safety Council. The goal of the summer-long campaign is to encourage drivers to break the tradition and stop texting while driving.

The safety campaign will run on social medial platforms of the respective hospitals and will be included in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, West Hawaii Today and on island-wide radio stations.

“Everyone knows that texting while driving is distracting, but new statistics show the real dangers of distracted driving,” said Wendi Wagner, RN, Kona Community Hospital Trauma Program Manager. “This initiative is intended to raise awareness and educate our teens as well as adults that texting and driving is a dangerous activity with deadly consequences.”

When it comes to cell phones, new statistics show the real dangers of distracted driving. In February, the National Safety Council released preliminary data on motor vehicle deaths in the U.S.  Data indicate that vehicular deaths increased 6% in 2015, bringing the nationwide two-year total increase to a staggering 14%.

In Hawaii, the numbers reflect a similar trend. Tentative FARS (Fatal Analysis Reporting System) data indicate that in 2016 Hawaii had 64 motor vehicle occupant deaths, a 47% increase over the annual average of 44 deaths per year for the previous 5-year period.  Honolulu and Hawaii counties account for the largest scale of overall increase in traffic crash-related fatalities.

Texting is of heightened concern because it combines three types of distraction – visual, taking the eyes off the road; manual, taking the hands off the wheel; and cognitive, taking the mind off the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers who text behind the wheel take their eyes off the road for an average of almost 5 seconds at a time. At 55 mph, that is the same as driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Campaign organizers at the Hawaii Island trauma centers hope that by raising public awareness, teens and adults will realize the real dangers of texting while driving , and will ultimately change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, friends and others on Hawaii County roads.


Kona Community Hospital Bariatric Surgery Program Achieves National Accreditation

Patients on Hawaii Island seeking surgical treatment for severe obesity and its related conditions can look to Kona Community Hospital mbsaqip-seal-jpg-fb(KCH) as a high-quality choice for receiving treatment in a nationally accredited program that meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality of care.

Dr. Nathan Tomita, DO, MPH, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Director at Kona Community Hospital today announced its bariatric surgical center has been accredited as a Low Acuity Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

The Kona Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Center, a collaboration between KCH and Ali`i Health Center, is one of only four centers in Hawaii to have attained this level of accreditation. It is also the only center on Hawaii Island that offers a comprehensive weight loss program including surgical weight loss procedures.

The MBSAQIP Standards ensure that bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. The accredited center offers preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for their severely obese patients.

“I’m very proud of our entire team,” said bariatric surgeon Nathan Tomita. “Their non-stop commitment to the bariatric weight loss program and to high-quality patient care and successful outcomes made this achievement possible.”

That commitment to quality care begins with appropriately trained staff and the leadership surgeons who participate in meetings throughout the year to oversee care coordination and outcomes. They seek continuous improvement to enhance the structure, process and outcomes of the program.

To earn the MBSAQIP designation, Kona Community Hospital met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity. The standards are specified in the MBSAQIP Resources for Optimal Care of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Patient 2014, published by the ACS and ASMBS.

“We’re not only about the surgical aspect of the KCH bariatric program,” said Tomita. “Patients undergo an extensive evaluation including an educational component, meeting with the program’s nutritionist, psychologist, and cardiologist, if needed. We work with each patient, and outline an individualized plan to make and meet healthy goals on their weight-loss journey.”

The KCH program underwent an extensive site visit by an experienced bariatric surgeon, who reviewed the center’s structure, process, and clinical outcomes data. Centers are awarded a specific designation depending on how many patients it serves annually, the type of procedures it provides, and whether it provides care for patients under age 18.

“Earning this designation is a big accomplishment for the entire team,” said Jay Kreuzer, KCH CEO. “Accredited centers are the best place for patients to receive the level of care that will ensure the best outcomes, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer that to our community.”

In the United States, around 15.5 million people suffer from severe obesity, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the numbers are increasing. Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. Metabolic and bariatric surgical procedures have proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to severe obesity.*

For more information about the Kona Community Hospital comprehensive metabolic and bariatric weight loss program, visit their website at kch.hhsc.org/services/metabolic-bariatric-surgery-center/.


*Buchwald H, Avidor Y, Braunwald E, et al. Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2004;292(14):1724-1737. DOI:10.1001/jama.292.14.1724.

Employee Earns Case Manager Certificate

Kona Community Hospital is proud of employee, Tonia Obregon, RN. Tonia recently became tonia-obregon-rn-ccm-11-10-16credentialed as a Certified Case Manager (CCM).

Earlier this year, Tonia began the 6-month study period for the CCM test. The nationally-recognized certificate is no small achievement. To take the test, one must be a registered nurse and have five years’ experience as a case manager. On October 19th, Tonia received word that she had passed the grueling 3-hour exam!

Congratulations, Tonia Obregon, RN, CCM!! Your dedication and commitment to our patients is appreciated.