Maui Hospital Transition May Proceed; Injunction Dissolved

Source: Joe Kent, The Maui News, January 21, 2018
One of the biggest savings will likely come from control over labor costs. Previously, the hospitals were left out of negotiations with their union employees; instead, such talks were handled at the state level. Now the Maui Health System can, for the first time, negotiate directly with the United Public Workers and Hawaii Government Employees Association unions. This is expected to result in better use of the hospital staffs and a big cost savings. …


Souki: Hospital subsidies will return to budget
Source: Colleen Uechi, Maui News, March 29, 2017

State lawmakers said Tuesday that funds for the future operation of three Maui County hospitals under Kaiser Permanente likely will be returned to the budget, after the House Finance Committee removed it earlier this month, concerning hospital officials. House Speaker Joe Souki of Maui said Tuesday that “there’s a general agreement between both sides” that funding for the hospitals would be restored in conference budget talks. … But the transition stalled due to a United Public Workers lawsuit claiming that the public-private partnership impaired a contract between the state and the union. By the time both parties had reached a settlement, Kaiser and the state had decided to push the transition date to July 1 of this year.

Interim HHSC Maui Region chief named
Source: Maui News, September 24, 2016

Longtime Maui Memorial Medical Center Dr. Barry Shitamoto has been selected as interim chief executive officer of Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s Maui Region, effective Nov. 1, according to an announcement. Shitamoto will replace Wesley Lo, current Maui Region chief executive office, who announced earlier this month that he would leave Oct. 31 to take over as chief executive officer at Hale Makua Health Services. … Last year, lawmakers passed a measure to privatize Maui Region hospitals. And, in January, the governor signed a deal to transfer hospital operations to Kaiser Permanente. The transfer was supposed to take effect July 1, but it has been blocked by hospital worker unions. Kaiser has said it plans to take over hospital operations July 1, a year later than the original transfer date. The current changeover date is a day after the expiration of labor contracts with the United Public Workers union and Hawaii Government Employees Association. The UPW has 536 blue-collar employees at Maui Region hospitals, and the HGEA represents 900 white-collar employees, including nurses and supervisors. …

Senators ask governor to address uncertainty with Maui hospital privatization
Source: Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now, September 21, 2016

Four state senators are calling on the governor to address ongoing uncertainty at Maui Memorial Medical Center, which is being privatized. It’s a situation they say has life or death consequences if it isn’t resolved soon. … The lawmakers want Ige to reconvene a special session to address unresolved concerns regarding severance packages and retirement benefits for the public hospital workers affected by the transfer to Kaiser Permanente. In August, Gov. David Ige announced he and the union representing more than 500 Maui County hospital workers had reached a settlement over the transfer, but lawmakers say they have yet to see a signed deal. They say speculation about what might happen is impacting the hospital workforce and jeopardizing medical services. … State Sen. J. Kalani English, whose district includes east and Upcountry Maui, says the Legislature stands ready to assist the governor with this complicated transition — they just need to be called back into a special session. He says lawmakers are willing to consider emergency funding if the hold-up is money. If it’s a policy issue, he says they’re willing to examine changes that may need to happen. One issue that’s come up, for example, is sick leave. Officials say an estimated 25 percent of the Maui hospital work force has been calling in sick daily. …

Local Connection: Maui Hospitals Delay
Source: Hawaii News Now, September 21, 2016

The protracted battle over how to transition unionized state workers into private sector management is looking more and more like a war of attrition against the deal. Unions UPW and HGEA have used all their traditional tactics – rallying support at the legislature…going to court…demanding extensive negotiation, and just plain stalling.  The governor doesn’t seem capable of either managing or satisfying the unions.  Some also believe he is excluding key players from the process, especially those from Maui.  Meanwhile, with their futures unclear the CEO, doctors, nurses and other staff are leaving and replacements are reluctant to be hired.  The facilities now can’t serve all the people who need care.

Head of Maui County public hospitals to step down
Source: Chelsea Davis, Hawaii News Now, September 16, 2016

As Maui County’s three hospitals move ahead with privatization, the leader who helped bring about the change has announced he’ll step down. Wesley Lo, CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation’s Maui Region, will step down effective Oct. 31. … He’s made no secret of his plans to leave once the Maui privatization deal was finalized, but expressed disappointment at leaving before the transition is complete. … The state’s transfer of the Maui County public hospitals to Kaiser Permanente has been delayed because of legal wrangling and union disputes. In August, the state and the union representing Maui hospital workers reached a settlement that allowed the transition to move forward. In the meantime, the hospitals continue to lose staffers. There are currently 400 vacant positions at the hospital, or about one quarter of its workforce. … Kaiser is slated to take control of the Maui region hospitals in summer 2017. The Maui Region hospitals will then be operated and managed exclusively by Kaiser, but will be open to non-Kaiser members. …

Ige, UPW ink supplemental union contract
Source: LEE IMADA and MELISSA TANJI, Maui News, September 7, 2016

The state director of the United Public Workers and Gov. David Ige on Tuesday quietly signed a supplemental contract agreement for the union’s Maui County public hospital workers along the outlines of a pact forged during a legal fight borne of the state’s efforts to privatize the facilities. Avery Chumbley, chairman of the board of the quasi-public Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui Region that currently runs the three county hospitals, confirmed the inking of the agreement by Ige and UPW State Director Dayton Nakanelua at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Calling the signing a “last-minute spur of the moment thing,” Chumbley said Tuesday that there had been a “tentative understanding about the terms of the supplemental agreement” between the parties. He said he could not give specifics of the supplemental agreement for the more than 530 blue-collar workers at Maui Memorial and Kula and Lanai Community hospitals but said that the terms were along the general outlines of the agreement reached in August. …

Uncertainty over Maui Hospital takes its toll
Source: Catherine Cruz, KITV, September 1, 2016

It seemed like a done deal when Gov. David Ige announced two weeks ago he had an agreement with the United Public Workers union that would clear the way for Kaiser Permanente to take over Maui Memorial Medical Center by Nov 6th. But those close to the negotiations said it apparently hinged on having a side deal with the United Public Workers over sick leave and severance signed by last weekend. When that didn’t happen, Kaiser pushed the transfer off to next summer and Maui Memorial and the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation were in upheaval again. … Lo said the Hawaii Health Systems had no choice but to call an emergency meeting Wednesday and to begin the process of cutting services. It normally operates with a staff of 1,600 but is 400 short. It’s having trouble filling the vacancies and to make matters worse, those left are trying to use up their sick leave before the transfer. … As the facility begins the process of reducing bed space to adjust to the reduced staffing, Maui patients may have no choice to look to Honolulu for medical care. …

BREAKING: Maui Hospital Phased Closures Announced
Source: Maui Now, August 31, 2016

After facing what they called a “dismal outlook” of the hospitals’ operations without a public-private partnership, the Hawai‘i Health Systems – Maui Region’s Board of Directors decided in an afternoon meeting today, to enact phased closures of beds and potential hospital services. The State and the Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association hit another impasse in negotiations over the weekend. Kaiser Permanente has stated that it will not be able to transition to take over operations of the Maui Region until July 1, 2017. …

Officials keeping an eye on Maui hospital stalemate
Source: Nancy Cook Lauer, Hawaii Tribune Herald, August 30, 2016

A breakdown in Maui hospital negotiations during the weekend could delay similar privatization plans for Kona Community Hospital. Three Maui public hospitals were supposed to be taken over by Kaiser Permanente after the 2015 state Legislature approved the transition as a way for the state to save money and improve patient access. Officials estimate the transfer from Hawaii Health Systems Corp. could save the state $260 million in subsidies during the next decade. A deadlock in negotiations between Gov. David Ige’s administration and United Public Workers — negotiations that continued through the weekend as both sides struggled to make the transition happen by Nov. 6 — led Maui Health System Hospital Administrator Ray Hahn to ask for a July 1 transfer date. … Kona Community Hospital in 2014 wrapped up an efficiency analysis by Huron Consulting Group with an eye to making itself more attractive to a public-private partnership and increase physician retention. The group identified $11.6 million in savings, including $1.7 million in non-labor, $1.2 million in labor and $543,000 in clinical cost savings. Prior to merging with Queen’s in 2014, North Hawaii Community Hospital retained Huron to help it identify ways to be more efficient in the face of an average $4 million in annual losses. …

Takeover of three state-owned Maui County hospitals delayed
Source: James Prichard, Pacific Business Journal, August 29, 2016

Maui Health System said due to outstanding issues with two unions representing state workers at the hospitals, it will not be able to take over the management and operation of the three state-owned hospitals in Maui County until next summer. In a letter dated Sunday, Ray Hahn, senior vice president and hospital administrator of the company, a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente, wrote to Gov. David Ige to say the takeover of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospitals planned for November needed to be postponed. Hahn said the state needed to finalize deals last week with the United Public Workers and the Hawaii Government Employees Association unions that would have amended earlier collective bargaining agreements for the takeover to happen on Nov. 6. The deadline passed without the new agreements, so Maui Health System notified the state that the earliest it could take control of the three hospitals was July 1, the day after the current contracts with the two unions expire

Maui Hospital Deal Pushed to 2017: Negotiations Hit Another Impasse
Source: Wendy Osher, Maui Now, August 29, 2016

Administrators with the Hawai‘i Health Systems – Maui Region say they are “left with many uncertainties” after the State and the Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association hit another impasse in negotiations. After years of anticipating a transition to a private operation, and after months of closed discussions, administrators with the Hawai‘i Health Systems – Maui Region issued a statement today saying they learned that negotiations had failed over the weekend. …