|Aloha Voice of Kapolei Ohana (mar12)|
|Written by Representative Kymberly Pine|
|Friday, March 02 2012|
A few of the hot topics in the Leeward Coast are reapportionment and the Hawaii Medical Center closure.
In the uproar about reapportionment, neighborhoods are being arbitrarily separated or are grouped together with neighborhoods that have different needs. Every ten years the Census is taken and the lines for districts for the House and Senate seats are reviewed according to how many people live in the area. The reapportionment committee did its job of creating new maps. The Supreme Court ruled on January 4 that the district lines needed to be redrawn again as residents on the Big Island said the new lines are unfair as the census counts included military members, their dependents and nonresident students who they say do not vote in Hawaii.
However, some military members and their families are an integral part of our community and they do vote in Hawaii. The new district maps have been presented to the public and now there is continued input on the maps. For our House District 43 (‘Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Puuloa) the present plans move some parts of Ocean Pointe and all of Hoakalei into House District 44 which is Kalaeloa, Campbell Industrial Park, Barbers Point Harbor, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli and Ma‘ili. With community meetings that were held last month on O‘ahu and Hawaii Island, the Reapportionment Committee has been active in listening to residents. For more details, log onto http://hawaii.gov/elections/reapportionment/.
I hosted the Hawaii Medical Center Closure Town Hall meeting on February 9, 2012 at Kapolei Middle School to let residents on the Leeward side of the island know what medical resources are available now that the HMC West is closed, and what can be done to reopen a hospital and emergency room in our area. It was very encouraging to see many people in the audience. Those who attended said the information was informative. The speakers were representatives from the State, City Emergency Management Services, Pali Momi, Tripler Army Medical Center, Wahiawa General Hospital, Pearl City Urgent Care, and the Hawaii Medical Association.
The good news is that our local hospitals have expressed interest in reopening a hospital and emergency room. Among some of the interested parties are Queens Medical Center and Hawaii Pacific Health. The bankruptcy procedures for the hospital would need to be completed first in order for the local hospitals to start discussions and eventually take ownership. The new hospital would also need to undergo certifications to ensure that it is up to standards. Many are hopeful that a hospital can open within a year's time although it may take longer.
The City EMS director Dr. James Ireland said that HMC West was the second busiest emergency room after Queen's. The City EMS provided additional ambulances on the West side of the island to help make things easier for the other ambulances that will now have to drive farther to get patients to an emergency room. The ambulances are going to either Pali Momi or Wahiawa General Hospital. If those hospitals are busy, patients are transported further to Queen's Medical Center. At the state level, I've supported legislation that supports funds for the ambulances on the Leeward side, and funds for Wahiawa General Hospital with HB 1953 and HB 1849. In HB 2345, St. Francis Healthcare has asked the state Legislature for $80 million in special revenue bonds, which will not be taxpayer dollars, so they can renovate the hospital.
The Hawaii Medical Center is closed however, there are still about 70 doctors' offices located in the building. There are five buildings serving the community including St. Francis Hospice, St. Francis Medical Office Building, The Cancer Center of Hawaii, Liberty Dialysis, Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii.
Due to community concerns about the economy, the recent lay-offs of nearly 1,000 HMC West employees, and the frustration of resumes going into the virtual abyss, I'm hosting a job fair on Friday, June 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please join my email list to keep posted about the job fair. I'm especially interested in finding Leeward-based employers that would like to participate.
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