Panel OKs hospital privatization bill

Source: Associated Press, March 16, 2013

Members of the Hawaii Senate Health Committee have approved a bill that would explore whether some of the state’s public hospitals should become private….

Panel endorses privatization for public hospitals
Source: Brian Perry, Maui News, February 15, 2013

The state Senate Health Committee recommended passage this week of a bill to privatize public hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and the Lanai Community Hospital. But the panel advanced the measure after deleting a provision that would have made hospital employees private instead of public civil service employees, according to West and South Maui Sen. Roz Baker, the committee’s vice chairwoman. … Last week, a House version of the same bill came under withering attack from public employees and union leaders who maintained that privatizing the state’s hospitals was a bad idea because a private entity would put profits ahead of public employees and health services.

Hospitals deal promising but tread carefully
Source: Editorial, Star Advertiser, February 16, 2013

Hawaii Legislature considers privatizing hospitals
Source: Anita Hofschneider, Associated Press, February 15, 2013

Bill to privatize public hospitals draws fire
Source: Brian Perry, Maui News, February 10, 2013

A bill to privatize public hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, came under fire last week from public union leaders and members, and two state House committees recommended establishing a nine-member task force to study the proposal’s feasibility.

During a hearing at the state Capitol on Wednesday, members of the House Health and Labor & Public Employment committees received written testimony from more than 135 testifiers, with 26 in support of House Bill 1483 and 110 opposed.

The bill seeks lawmakers’ approval of a measure to pave the way for turning management of Neighbor Island hospitals from the state’s Hawaii Health Systems Corp. to a private nonprofit. The bill doesn’t name Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit hospital systems, but the Hawaii Health Systems Maui Regional System Board of Directors has been in discussions with Banner since at least summer of last year….

Arizona nonprofit wants to take over 8 Hawaii public hospitals
Source: Keoki Kerr, Rick Daysog, HawaiiNewsNow, January 11, 2013

The state is in discussions with an Arizona nonprofit hospital chain that’s interested in taking over operations of eight public hospitals on Maui and the Big Island, Hawaii News Now learned Friday. It’s a development that could have major implications for medical care for tens of thousands of neighbor island residents and affect the employment of thousands of hospital employees.

Sources said the Phoenix-based nonprofit Banner Health has made an “initial conceptual offer” to the state to take over operations, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, Hilo Medical Center and Kona Community Hospital. Other hospitals whose operations could be transferred to Banner from the state are in Kau, Kohala, Hamakua, Kula and on the island of Lanai. …

…Sources said under the deal proposed by Banner, the company would not pay the state any rent for the hospital facilities and the state would guarantee an annual management fee to Banner. … Officials said under its initial offer, Banner wanted to continue receiving the eight hospitals’ share of subsidies from the state — worth tens of millions — for the first few years and transition to no subsidy after about seven or eight years. … Privately, some state officials question whether the deal is good for taxpayers, since sources said Banner Health wants the state to take on hundreds of millions of dollars to cover vacation, sick leave, and retirement benefits of existing hospital employees. ..