Kona Community Hospital receives $5M from feds

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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.


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.


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.