Kona Community Hospital Has a Positive Outlook

day2konahospital019Kona Community Hospital (KCH) leadership has a positive outlook on its goal to launch comprehensive initiatives embedded within its long-term strategic plan. These initiatives are intended to increase efficiency, produce better patient outcomes and improve financial performance.

One such initiative is a successful physician recruitment plan to attract and retain specialists based on community need. KCH currently has 65 active practioners who represent 22 specialties.

Another is the hospital’s partnership with Maui Heart and Vascular (MHV) to open the MHV Kona Clinic on the KCH campus. Hawaii County has limited cardiac care, and also has the highest rates of death from coronary heart disease in the state. This partnership addresses these issues. The cardiology clinic provides patients with on-island access to wide-ranging diagnostics and non-invasive treatment of cardiovascular disease. If more extensive services are required, patients can be referred to the multi-disciplinary team at Maui Memorial Medical Center (MMMC).

Dr. Andrew Rosenblum, a non-invasive cardiologist with specific training in cardiac ultrasound and arrhythmias, is currently seeing patients weekly each Wednesday. To date, Dr. Rosenblum has provided outpatient services at the new clinic to 60 new patients. Thoracic surgeon, Dr. Michael Dang has seen 42 new patients.

In addition, Kona Community Hospital has implemented enhanced cost and revenue cycle management programs resulting in a positive bottom line for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2012. This $1.6 million net revenue is the first-ever positive bottom line for the hospital dating back to 1997. “We have been doing well at controlling costs as revenues increase,” said Dean Herzog, KCH Chief Financial Officer.

Minutes count during a cardiac emergency, making transit times critical. Because of this, Kona Community Hospital has contracted with Hawaii Life Flight to receive a medically equipped, over- water helicopter. By the end of November, the helicopter will be stationed at the Kona Airport. It will be dedicated to Kona Community Hospital, and will be specifically used for facility to facility patient transfers. The KCH trauma team will coordinate patient transfers with the Hawaii Life Flight critical care crew. This dedicated helicopter will give cardiac patients 24/7 access to emergency transfer from KCH. Additionally, it will cut transit time down from 4 hours it currently takes to transport a patient to Oahu, to about one hour.

Finally, over the next six months, KCH will be launching its long-term plan to build a replacement hospital. The current hospital is aging and lacks sufficient space to grow current clinical services or to add new services. The hospital’s plan to continue to acquire state-of-the-art equipment, attract new physicians and increase efficiency will require a new, modernized physical infrastructure. The hospital has engaged consultant, Peter Adler PhD to assist with planning issues and explore what is best for the community. Over the next several months, KCH will launch several initiatives intended to enlist input from key stakeholders including the medical and business communities as well as the public. This exploration began with employee Town Hall meetings held over past two days.

“We are in the starting process of defining what our community hospital should be,” said CEO Jay Kreuzer. “Things are changing at Kona Community Hospital. We’re focused on big projects that will match the community’s evolving health care needs.”