Kanuha named Senate majority leader

Kanuha named Senate majority leader
By Tribune-Herald staff | Thursday, May 6, 2021, 12:05 a.m.

 

Kanuha

State Sen. Dru Kanuha, a Kona Democrat, was named the new Senate majority leader, it was announced Wednesday.                                                                                                                                  His appointment follows the May 1 retirement of former Sen. J. Kalani English of Maui.

Kanuha, a former Hawaii County Council chairman, has served as the majority caucus leader since being elected to the Senate in 2018.

He’ll continue to maintain caucus leader responsibilities, according to a statement. He’ll also continue to serve as a member of the Ways and Means, Housing and Education committees.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye, a Hilo Democrat, will continue as the body’s majority whip. She’ll also continue to serve as chairwoman of the Water and Land Committee, as vice chairwoman of the Transportation Committee and as a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

Sen. Joy San Buenaventura, a Puna Democrat, will continue to serve as chairwoman of the Human Services Committee and as a member of the Health and Commerce and Consumer Protection committees.

And Sen. Laura Acasio — a Hilo Democrat who was appointed to her seat earlier this year after Kai Kahele was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives — will continue to serve on the Agriculture and Environment, Hawaiian Affairs, Human Services and Judiciary committees.

 

 

 

 

 

Hospitals resist Our Care, Our Choice Act

Hospitals resist Our Care, Our Choice Act

By STEPHANIE SALMONS Hawaii Tribune-Herald | Sunday, February 14, 2021, 12:05 a.m.

https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2021/02/14/hawaii-news/hospitals-resist-our-care-our-choice-act/

Kathleen Katt

Those seeking to access the Our Care, Our Choice Act still face barriers.

Enacted in 2019, the aid-in-dying law allows Hawaii residents 18 years old or older who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a prognosis of six months or less to live to obtain a fatal prescription after two separate verbal requests to a physician, a written request with two witnesses and a mental health evaluation to ensure they are capable of making medical decisions for themselves.

But a lack of providers willing to participate and policies implemented by island health care systems are hindering access to aid-in-dying.

The East Hawaii Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which includes Hilo Medical Center, will not participate in OCOCA-related services on its premises, according to a new policy implemented this month.

That includes the duties required by providers under the law, prescribing or delivering aid-in-dying drugs; and prohibiting patients from self-administering the drug while a patient is in an East Hawaii Region facility.

Under the policy, however, providers can still diagnose or confirm a terminal illness, provide information about the law upon request, refer the patient to another health care provider who does participate, and support the patient and their families through the end-of-life process.

According to the policy, providers won’t be censured, disciplined, lose privileges or face any penalty for participating in OCOCA outside of an East Hawaii Region facility.

Approved by the HMC executive management team this month, the policy applies to all East Hawaii critical access hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and the Hilo hospital.

“We really support this, and we’re very glad the Legislature has allowed this service to be provided to our community and the people of Hawaii,” HMC Chief Medical Officer Kathleen Katt said. “We are unable to provide the service at our hospital, because we don’t have the resources that are needed to be able to fulfill all of the requirements.”

“We have providers already stretched thin doing clinic work, seeing their own patients,” hospital spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said. “It would require more care for this one patient that they’re already receiving.”

Katt said the health care system supports patients with terminal illnesses and their families through end of life by supporting patient health care services and providing pastoral and palliative care services.

Providers also could refer patients to other providers in the community who provide aid-in-dying.

A similar policy is in place in North Hawaii.

“Although we respect patients’ dignity and right to choose, QNHC does not participate in Our Care, Our Choice Act activities,” said Lynn Scully, spokeswoman for Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea.

Kona Community Hospital, however, which is part of the HHSC West Hawaii Region, is in the final stages of adopting a position of “engaged neutrality,” spokeswoman Judy Donovan said.

“KCH supports our patients and their choices regarding the law,” she said. “We will provide appropriate educational resources that allow a patient to make informed end-of-life decisions. However, the hospital does not participate in OCOCA by way of allowing the administration of end-of-life medications on the KCH campus.”

According to Donovan, when a patient requests life-ending medication under the law, KCH providers will participate by offering appropriate resources or support and performing duties that are considered standard care for end-of-life patients.

“For years, KCH providers and the health care team have performed certain aspects of end-of-life processes, such as diagnosing or confirming a terminal disease; providing info to a patient in order to make informed decisions; determining a patient’s capacity, etc.,” she said. “These tasks, along with palliative care, are the standards of care in end-of-life patient care. The determination to provide neutral support of OCOCA was the next step in the evolving standards of care for end-of-life patients.”

Employees are not mandated to participate in OCOCA, but they are educated about KCH’s policy and will arrange for another staff member to provide the requested educational resources, Donovan said.

Donovan said the adoption of this policy is a component of KCH’s inaugural Circle of Life program.

Circle of Life is an employee-based support program that aims to create “meaningful experiences for employees and patients through the use of education and tools relating to traumatic events, end-of-life matters and bereavement.”

Sam Trad, state director for Compassion and Choices, part of a national organization that advocates for end-of-life rights, said finding a provider is the biggest challenge to accessing the law — especially in East Hawaii — and creates a “real barrier.”

“I get a lot of calls from East Hawaii patients who want this option, and currently the only solution is for them to see doctors on the other side of the island,” she said. “I know of at least two patients who died before they were able to complete the process because there’s no doctor in East Hawaii who will support patients. …”

Trad said she encourages health care systems and hospices to have a neutral policy regarding the law.

“If a doctor wants to support the patients in the option, they can,” she said. “We don’t expect any health care systems to be overly supportive of the option but also hope they don’t (oppose) it.”

Calls to Hawaii Care Choices, formerly Hospice of Hilo, were not returned.

COVID Taking Emotional Toll on Hawai‘i Island Keiki

COVID Taking Emotional Toll on Hawai‘i Island Keiki

November 25, 2020, 4:20 PM HST (Updated November 25, 2020, 4:23 PM)
https://bigislandnow.com/2020/11/25/covid-taking-emotional-toll-on-hawaii-island-keiki/

Hawai‘i Island keiki in a mental health crisis are waiting days for inpatient treatment as the demand for services has grown and the already limited resources are strained.

Emergency department (ED) directors from Kona Community Hospital and Hilo Medical Center attested to the rise in the number of juveniles experiencing depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, restricting large gatherings, keeping students out of classrooms and upending youths’ social lives.

“Prior to COVID, you’d see maybe one or two pediatric (mental health) complaints in the ED. It’s definitely increased since the start of COVID,” said Toni Higa, HMC Emergency Department Nurse Manager. “Now, it’s not uncommon for us to see a handful in a week’s period.”

The pandemic has exacerbated an already strained inpatient care system due to unavailable bed space and temporarily halting admittance to stem the spread of the virus, said Richard Mears, Behavioral Health Nurse Manager at KCH. Both HMC and KCH say children can spend days in the emergency department just waiting for a bed to open up on O‘ahu.

“We’ve had kids waiting five to six days,” said Audrey McCandless, medical director for the emergency department at KCH, told Big Island Now.

Just in the past week, Higa said, HMC had two instances where children had to wait a week to fly out to O‘ahu for treatment. One was a teenager and another was under the age of 10.

How to get help:
Click here for Behavioral Health Specialist Support at the schools.
Statewide crisis hotline is 800-753-6879. People can also text “Aloha” to 741741.
Hawai‘i Keiki at 844-436-3888.

McCandless said the hospital is seeing an increase in children between the ages of 12 and 15 suffering from depression, anxiety, and behavioral issues.

“I can’t say the rise is specifically due to COVID,” McCandless explained. “(However), something has changed, and that’s the most obvious reason.”

Routine Disrupted

The Department of Education moved to a virtual learning model after spring break of the 2019-20 school year. There were no graduation ceremonies, parties, or May Day celebrations.

While the DOE started the 2020-21 school year in a blended learning model, providing in-person and distance learning instruction, area complexes had to readjust their plans after reports surfaced of students and teachers coming down with the virus statewide.

Kelly Stern, District Educational Specialist for School-Based Behavioral Health at the West Hawai‘i Complex Area, said each school in the complex has a different learning model they’re following.

Despite the virtual learning atmosphere, counselors continue to reach out to children who might be in need. In a normal school year, counselors see a lot of kids. While the numbers haven’t really changed, they are still worried about the students.

“Since we’ve gone into a virtual platform, we’re concerned because there are kids we’ve had no contact with and don’t know why,” Stern said.

Additionally, children who normally excel in school are showing signs of anxiety and depression.

“I think any of us parents who are having to help our children with distance learning can attest to the fact that it’s stressful,” Higa said. “It’s a break in their routine, and they don’t have the outlets and social interactions.”

Higa said the emergency department at HMC is treating a lot of depression and anxiety in minors who are being brought in for treatment.

“There’s a good portion of kids who come in who already have a history of mental illness,” she explained. “They’re having a lot of anxiety and trouble coping.”

McCandless noted this is a critical time for children, especially middle schoolers, as they are learning who they are as people.

“Teens build their lives around their peers,” McCandless said. “They’re developmental job is to distance themselves from parents.”

Resources are Limited

It is common for parents to bring their children to the hospital if they are suffering from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or behavioral issues. With no inpatient facility on the Big Island to help keiki in crisis, the only two places available statewide are on O‘ahu — Kāhi Mōhala and Queen’s Medical Center.

“(Parents) bring them to the hospital because they don’t know what to do,” McCandless said.

Behavioral health centers at KCH and HMC don’t have beds available for juveniles. As a result, the hospitals rely on community partners to assist youth in crisis. Since there are no mental health resources for children, Mears said, the hospital is assisted by mostly private practitioners.

Jessica Stevens, HMC’s Behavioral Health Nurse Manager, said these community partners were already at their max for servicing the public before COVID. The virus has added an even higher level of demand.

In ordinary circumstances, Stevens explained, it’s not uncommon for people to make appointments with doctors or therapists and have visits be scheduled months in advance.

“You add a pandemic and this is what we have — our resources are just maxed to the brink whether it be outpatient (or) inpatient,” Stevens explained.

How to Help

With few resources in place, McCandless encourages parents to pay attention to what their kids are saying.

“Don’t blow off what they’re telling you as teenage angst,” McCandless said. “Expressing suicidal thoughts is not normal teenage behavior.”

On a county level, McCandless added there needs to be a plan on how to get kids back to school safely.

Higa thinks it’s important that children and adults stick to a routine and talk about what’s stressing them out.

Stevens said some red flags to watch for are a change in someone’s appetite, if they’re withdrawn, and if things like hobbies no longer bring them joy.

Stevens added no one foresaw how long the pandemic would impact everyone’s lives.

“We’re in uncharted territory,” she said.

“With COVID, people feel isolated, they feel alone, and it’s hard even trying to get follow-up appointments with doctors,” Stevens said, adding people should maintain their family connections.

“We may not be able to have face-to-face inaction, but still try to keep in contact,” she suggested. “Times are hard for everybody. The reality is we need to be mindful and just help ourselves get through it.”

The schools are also finding ways to be proactive and help children who are struggling. Stern said teachers are going through training to recognize anxiety or depression. Teachers have also been referring students to counselors.

Parents may always check in with a school counselor if they have concerns about their children. Click here for Behavioral Health Specialist Support at the schools.

The statewide crisis hotline is 800-753-6879. People can also text “Aloha” to 741741.

Parents may also call Hawai‘i Keiki at 844-436-3888, the DOE’s partner with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa advance practice nurses (APRN) for health and mental health concerns. They are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., excluding holidays and breaks.

First urology specialist in a decade opens shop in Kona

First urology specialist in a decade opens shop in Kona

By Laura Ruminski West Hawaii Today lruminski@westhawaiitoday.com | Monday, November 2, 2020, 12:05 a.m.

https://www.w

esthawaiitoday.com/2020/11/02/hawaii-news/first-urology-specialist-in-a-decade-opens-shop-in-kona/

 

Alii Health Center welcomed the first full-time urologist to practice in West Hawaii in nearly 10 years. Previously, patients would have

to wait for visiting physicians to hold a clinic in Hilo or Kona and fly to Honolulu for procedures.

Dr. Jeffrey Palmgren has been a practicing urologist since 2009 and began treating

patients September in Kona.

“I finished my urology residency in 2009, and after graduation, did a three year stint in the Navy — the last year in Afghanistan,” Palmgren recalled. “My wife, who was a Navy nurse, said it was time to get out, so we started a practice in Oregon.”

When they knew it was time for a change, they considered Kona since they previously vacationed here. Even though Alii Health was not actively recruiting a urologist, Palmgren approached executive director Clayton McGhan to see if he was interested in having him join their team.

“He (McGhan) told me about his vision for Alii, bringing good quality specialty care to Kona, without people having to travel. We wanted to go somewhere where we could make a change and make a difference. We looked at mission trips and third-world places, but after talking to (McGhan) we saw the need and knew we could do a lot of good here.”

Palmgren has three daughters, ages 3, 5 and 15.

His practice has been booming. His first referrals came from physicians in Honolulu who were treating West Hawaii men. “My family really pushed the idea of coming to Hawaii. The community atmosphere is something we really wanted to raise our kids in,” he said. “We wanted them to be outdoorsy. We are into surfing and fishing and we are outside all the time, so this really fit for us.”

“We got flooded with all of those referrals and I’m seeing how much disease and how much people have been putting off urology health care for a while,” he said after only working for eight weeks.

He is also doing outreach, educating primary care providers in some of the things they can do.

“Now we are already booked into December and are already talking about expansion,” Palmgren said. He added they are hoping to add another urologist and perhaps a physician assistant in the future.

“You’re dealing with men and multiple different cultures and a lot of times, urinary symptoms are something people just don’t talk about,” he explained. “I always congratulate the guys who come in, usually by the urging of their wives, eventually they come in but for a good portion of them, I wish they would have come in a lot sooner.”

He explained that a lot of men start having the problem of frequency of urination, start seeing a lot of urgency to get to the bathroom and getting up several times throughout the night with a weak stream and think it’s just part of aging.

“I want people to know when you start having those symptoms, don’t wait. Talk to your primary doctor and see what your options are because when we are talking about urinary symptoms you can have things as bad as prostate cancer, but benign enlargement of the prostate (BPH) is far more common,” he stated. “The sooner you can get treatment for cancer or an enlarged prostate the easier the treatments are and the impacts on your life is so much better.”

He said if left untreated, patients could start getting bladder damage, become susceptible to infections, develop stones and advance to kidney damage.

“I recommend routine check-ups sooner than later,” he said.

“I finished my urology residency in 2009, and after graduation, did a three year stint in the Navy — the last year in Afghanistan,” Palmgren recalled. “My wife, who was a Navy nurse, said it was time to get out, so we started a practice in Oregon.”

When they knew it was time for a change, they considered Kona since they previously vacationed here. Even though Alii Health was not actively recruiting a urologist, Palmgren approached executive director Clayton McGhan to see if he was interested in having him join their team.

“He (McGhan) told me about his vision for Alii, bringing good quality specialty care to Kona, without people having to travel. We wanted to go somewhere where we could make a change and make a difference. We looked at mission trips and third-world places, but after talking to (McGhan) we saw the need and knew we could do a lot of good here.”

Palmgren has three daughters, ages 3, 5 and 15.

“My family really pushed the idea of coming to Hawaii. The community atmosphere is something we really wanted to raise our kids in,” he said. “We wanted them to be outdoorsy. We are into surfing and fishing and we are outside all the time, so this really fit for us.”

His practice has been booming. His first referrals came from physicians in Honolulu who were treating West Hawaii men.

“We got flooded with all of those referrals and I’m seeing how much disease and how much people have been putting off urology health care for a while,” he said after only working for eight weeks.

He is also doing outreach, educating primary care providers in some of the things they can do.

“Now we are already booked into December and are already talking about expansion,” Palmgren said. He added they are hoping to add another urologist and perhaps a physician assistant in the future.

“You’re dealing with men and multiple different cultures and a lot of times, urinary symptoms are something people just don’t talk about,” he explained. “I always congratulate the guys who come in, usually by the urging of their wives, eventually they come in but for a good portion of them, I wish they would have come in a lot sooner.”

He explained that a lot of men start having the problem of frequency of urination, start seeing a lot of urgency to get to the bathroom and getting up several times throughout the night with a weak stream and think it’s just part of aging.

“I want people to know when you start having those symptoms, don’t wait. Talk to your primary doctor and see what your options are because when we are talking about urinary symptoms you can have things as bad as prostate cancer, but benign enlargement of the prostate (BPH) is far more common,” he stated. “The sooner you can get treatment for cancer or an enlarged prostate the easier the treatments are and the impacts on your life is so much better.”

He said if left untreated, patients could start getting bladder damage, become susceptible to infections, develop stones and advance to kidney damage.

“I recommend routine check-ups sooner than later,” he said.

Palmgren is the only urologist on the island to use the Urolift, a minimally invasive treatment for enlarged prostates. Performed as a same-day outpatient procedure, including the office setting under local anesthesia. The length of the procedure varies based on the patient’s anatomy and number of prostatic implants required. It is a proven, minimally invasive approach to treating enlarged prostate that may allow men to get off BPH medications and avoid major surgery. Patients can experience rapid symptom relief, recover from the procedure quickly, and return to their normal routines with minimal downtime, patients can return to normal activity in days.

“Since coming to Kona, the outreach and welcoming from the community has been amazing,” he said.

Kona Community Hospital receives $5M from feds

See story by West Hawaii Today

Kona Community Hospital receives $5M from feds

Kona Community Hospital was one of two hospitals in the state to receive a combined $11.9 million in new federal funding to support health care services for vulnerable and low-income individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

KCH and Straub Medical Center on Oahu received the funds as part of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, according to a press release from U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

Hospitals that serve a disproportionately high number of Medicaid patients or provide large amounts of uncompensated care are eligible for this safety net allocation from the Provider Relief Fund.

“One-third of the patients served at Kona Community Hospital are Medicaid/Quest patients. Additionally, 3% of our patients are uninsured,” said KCH Chief Financial Officer Dean Herzog.

KCH received $5 million on Friday. Herzog said the funds will be used to offset the lost revenue the hospital is experiencing because of a reduction in surgeries, out-patient procedures and in-patient days resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schatz said the two medical centers serve as safety-net hospitals, providing care to individuals regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay for health-care services.

“Kona Community Hospital and Straub Medical Center play an essential role in providing health care to our most vulnerable residents on the Big Island and Oahu,” said Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “With hospitals on the front lines of this global health crisis, this federal funding will provide important resources to make sure they remain operational so that everyone can get the care they need regardless of their ability to pay.”

In addition to this funding, Hawaii health providers have received more than $200 million in federal grants to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including funding to acquire personal protective equipment, cover testing and treatment, support rural hospitals, and other response efforts.

 

Hometown Heroes: Anne Broderson is fighting for our health

 

Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, West Hawaii Today is publishing a story about individuals, groups or organizations that have helped make life better for others in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been said that if you want to get something done to ask a busy person. Anne Broderson, a cardiac nurse practitioner at Alii Health Center, is one of those people.

Not only has she organized the biggest annual blood drive in the state, her efforts have made Alii Health’s drive-through COVID-19 testing the most successful on the Big Island.

“The energy and passion she has used in the medical field for years gave her the right tools to create from the ground up a COVID-19 testing and screening program that helps us deal with a once in a lifetime world Health crisis,” said Jeramy Madrid with Alii Health. “Every week she facilitates dozens of screening and Testing for COVID-19 all the while balancing a full clinic in Alii Health Centers Cardiology department. She is an amazing person who puts passion first that we are grateful that she’s fighting for our health first and foremost.”

Broderson was nominated by Dr. Brett Carey, chairman of the health service committee at the West Hawaii Community Health Center because of her commitment to the community.

“She was the genesis behind getting the COVID testing with Alii Health,” said Carey. “If it wasn’t for Anne I don’t know what we would have done to open it up and test more community members.”

Carey said he had some connections with Premier Medical which organized the first drive-through at Old Kona Airport Park.

“All’s I did is help to introduce them through email and Anne took it from there and ran with it,” he said. “I think she is someone in our community that whenever she sees a need she takes action really quickly and puts these initiatives together that normally would have big groups and meetings and committees. She just makes things happen.”

“I see a need that the community is lacking and it feels wrong not to act on it,” said Broderson, also noting that it was Carey who 3D-printed face shields and N95 masks used by personnel. “I’ve been able to rally the troops and be a good collaborator with outside agencies.”

Under Broderson’s leadership, Alii Health has performed well over 2,000 tests, the largest county testing by volume since their first testing on March 28.

“Alii Health Center is very fortunate to have Anne as a provider,” said Alii Health Center executive director Clayton McGhan. “Her outstanding contributions to our organization as well as the community through her involvement with the COVID-19 testing has not only raised community awareness, but also created a collaborative healthcare environment. She is a true ‘Hometown Hero!’”

Previous to spearheading COVID testing, Broderson organized the annual Elvis Sheppard blood drive in honor of her best friend Jen Davis’s fiancee who died from injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash in 2017.

“She is one of my very best friends in life,” said Davis. “She was there the day I met him and she was there the day he passed.”

At the time of the accident, Broderson was working at Kona Community Hospital.

“It was a tragic thing to happen to anybody — let alone my best friend’s fiancee,” she said.

Broderson said 78 units of blood were given to Sheppard, enough to fill a human body several times over.

“The blood products was the only thing that was going to give him a chance, and in treating Sheppard, the supply of platelets at the hospital was exhausted. I drove to Hilo that night to get more. We got back and gave him the units we got from Hilo, but it was already too late,” said Broderson. “I thought how can we give the next person in this situation a better chance?”

The morning after Sheppard died, Broderson and Davis decided they needed to do something.

“There were about 50 of his friends gathered in the hallway wanting to donate blood,” said Broderson. “That’s where the idea was born. If nothing else we wanted to at least restock the shelves for what Elvis used.”

Davis said the first blood drive was July 4, 2017.

“The blood drive was Anne’s baby from conception; to being liaison with the Blood Bank and what needed to be done. It became her passion project,” said Davis.

After the first year, they decided that it needed to be an annual endeavor.

Last year, 299 donors attended the drive, making it the biggest blood drive in the state.

“It was pretty incredible. She is so smart she is able to identify where the need lies and cares so much for her community that she jumps right in and takes ownership of these massive undertakings that you never see anybody doing,” said Davis. “She’s so intelligent she just knows exactly what needs to be done and makes it happen. She’s really a remarkable woman.”

They were planning on having the annual drive this year, but the Blood Bank had made the decision that they were not going to go to any outer islands due to the pandemic.

In addition to all the organizing Broderson has done, she has been fundraising for trauma services at Kona Community Hospital.

“Our intention for all the money that has been raised is to get a bereavement program up and running at Kona Hospital,” she said.

The program would support family members experiencing sudden death of a loved one navigate through the process, where now there is no guidance, providing someone who is a dedicated person to stay with the family to answer all their questions and offer support.

All of this while working full time as a cardiology nurse practitioner.

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.

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.