Governor Josh Green, M.D. has signed legislation to expand access to health care on Maui and to uplift career advancement opportunities for health care workers in the state.
House Bill 1255, now Act 73, authorizes the issuance of up to $20M in special purpose revenue bonds to assist West Maui Hospital Foundation, Inc. in the construction of West Maui Hospital and Medical Center in the county of Maui, including any necessary infrastructure.
“An acute-care hospital is greatly needed for West Maui. The island has seen tremendous growth and protected rates of growth and visitors going forward are unprecedented,” said Gov. Green. “In addition to providing greater access to health care for the people of Maui, completion of a West Maui Hospital and Medical Center will also generate excellent job opportunities for residents in the community.”
To address the statewide shortage of health care workers, Governor Green signed HB 353, now Act 74, which appropriates $130,000 for instructional costs for the Certified Nurse Aide-to-Practical Nurse Bridge Program at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College; and $200,000 to provide student aid to participants in the CNA-to-LPN Program at the school.
The appropriation includes funds for tuition, fees, supplies, and related costs. The program is designed especially for working certified nurse aides and other health care professionals who want to become licensed practical nurses, and will enhance the quality and provision of health care services on Maui.
“These bills emphasize the importance of our health and education systems, in meeting the healthcare needs of residents across our state,” said Gov. Green. “Both bills represent the collaborative efforts between my Administration and the Legislature to help address these needs.”
“This funding contributes to a robust education system in providing health workforce education and training, to enhance the quality of health care in our community and address the dire shortage of health care workers in our state,” said Gov. Green.
The program partners with Hale Makua, ʻOhana Pacific Health, and Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi and provides eligible Maui and Oʻahu health care professionals with the opportunity to become LPNs while they are working.
State Senator Gil Keith-Agaran called the bills Maui community bills. “These two bills came out of the community and were actually driven by the community,” he said. “Getting the financing (for West Maui Hospital and Medical Center) has been going on for a long time … that is not something we can take credit for. The other bill, from Representative Hashimoto, again came through the community. HB353 was probably one of the easiest bills to move through the legislature this year … because the expansion will also provide more health care positions on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu – this is helpful for health care throughout the state.”
“We are so very grateful to Governor Green for signing this bill, authorizing up to $20M in special purpose revenue bonds to help our foundation with financing costs for the long-planned West Maui Hospital and Medical Center,” said Jo Anne Johnson Winer, of the West Maui Hospital Foundation. “Our West Maui community can now see its long-time hopes and dreams become reality.”
“This is a proud day for UH Maui, as we will be able to contribute greatly to helping our state’s health care system staff up, while at the same time, affording certified nurse aides an opportunity to advance their careers through the bridge program,” said UH Maui College Chancellor Lui Hokoana.